By: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
BAKERSFIELD – A Kern County judge ruled yesterday in favor of Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller, who refused to design a wedding cake for an already-married same-sex couple in 2017.
In fact Miller was facing discrimination charges filed by the state. Miller filed an opposition brief in January 2018 and yesterday she won a victory in the county.
Review the court’s opinion from the ruling in favor of Tastries Bakery:
“A wedding cake is not just cake in Free Speech analysis. It is an artistic expression by the person making it that is to be used traditionally as centerpiece in the celebration of marriage. There could not be greater form of expressive conduct. Here… They plan celebration to declare the validity of their marital union and their enduring love for one another. The State asks this court to compel Miller against her will and religion to allow her artistic expression in celebration of marriage to be co-opted to promote the message desired by same-sex marital partners, and with which Miller disagrees. Identifying the interests here as implicating First Amendment protections does not end the inquiry… Furthermore, here the State minimizes the fact that Miller has provided for an alternative means for potential customers to receive the product they desire through the services of another talent” — Miller recommended her competitor to the same-sex couple after refusing to design them a cake. The ruling goes on to say that “the fact that Rodriguez-Del Rios feel they will suffer indignity from Miller’s choice is not sufficient to deny constitutional protection.”
Attorney for the plaintiffs, Patricia Ziegler-Lopez, who is representing Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio in the case, told 23 ABC the following statement:
“We are disappointed but not surprised by ruling against the preliminary injunction. Bakersfield and Kern County in general is very conservative and that unfortunately includes some of the judges. But it’s not over. Our fight against bigotry and discrimination is only beginning. I am going to speaking with the attorney that represents DFEH to plan the next step. To be clear this is no lawsuit filed yet.”
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