Recently, there was a huge win for religious liberty in Left-leaning California.
Superior Court Judge David Lampe ruled in favor of baker Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, who had declined services based on her own beliefs as a Christian.
LifeSite News reports:
Last August, Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio sought a wedding cake from Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller, who declined on the grounds that affirming a homosexual union would violate her Christian beliefs, Bakersfield.com reports. The couple filed a complaint with California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH)…
“Everyone is God’s creation and I love everyone,” Miller has previously explained. “But there are certain things that violate my conscience, and my conscience will not allow me to participate in things that I feel are wrong.
Judge Lampe explained his decision as follows:
“The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace,” Lampe wrote in his original decision. “The right of freedom of thought guaranteed by the First Amendment includes the right to speak, and the right to refrain from speaking. Sometimes the most profound protest is silence.”
The judge went on to further clarify why the selling of a wedding cake, an actual form of artistic expression, was different than other sales and services. Selling a product such as tires, which is not “sacred or expressive”, and creating an item which will feature prominently in a celebration that conflicts with the creator’s personally-held religious beliefs are two entirely different matters.
This is nothing but common sense.
A key point was made by Charles LiMandri, president of Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), the organization that defended Ms. Miller in court. He reminded everyone that she happily serves all individuals who enter her shop – including homosexual couples – when they come into her store. She does not refuse to make a birthday cake for a gay individual or deny a lesbian the ability to purchase her cupcake creations. But when a couple asks her to create a product to celebrate their same-sex union, she is morally opposed and can’t (and won’t) participate.
As we’ve seen in similar situations around the country, this approach to business shouldn’t be considered so controversial. Unfortunately, it is.
Other small business owners with a religious objection to certain goods/services are being targeted for their beliefs. Instead of looking for another baker who will create and sell the desired confection, some couples are choosing to not only make a mockery of these businesses but also drag them to court in an effort to ruin them financially.
We saw this with the incident in Oregon involving Sweet Cakes by Melissa and a lesbian couple. As reported in March, Aaron and Melissa Klein are choosing to petition the Oregon Supreme Court, by way of appeal, regarding a state Court of Appeals decision. The earlier decision burdened the now former business owners with a huge penalty to the tune of $135,000 for refusing to create and sell a cake that violated their religious beliefs.
The couple looking for a cake couldn’t just disagree and go elsewhere. They sought to bring ruin.
Another, extremely well-known case involves Colorado baker, Jack Phillips. Currently, the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case is under consideration by the Supreme Court of the United States. The awaited decision will drastically affect business owners around the country and determine just how their religious freedoms as individuals intersect with their abilities/duties in the workplace.
The ruling is expected to be appealed, but the decision (in California, no less!) is a promising judicial departure from some in recent memory. No one is promoting or allowing discrimination just because, as others seem to claim. Instead, this is a specific instance where religious freedom takes precedence over exchanges in the marketplace.
Hopefully, we’ll see similar decisions in the near future.