It looks like LGBT hating cake bakers are gaining ground in court.
As the U.S. Supreme Court ponders a baker’s refusal to prepare a wedding cake for a gay couple, a California judge has ruled that the owner of a Bakersfield bakery had a free-speech right to turn away a lesbian couple who wanted a cake to celebrate their marriage.
A wedding cake, even one without an inscription, “is an artistic expression by the person making it,” Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe said Monday in a ruling denying a state agency’s request to require the bakery owner, Cathy Miller, to comply with California’s anti-discrimination law.
“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,” Lampe said. “The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the state’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace.”
The San Francisco Chronicle reports the case has similarities to one that was argued before the nation’s high court in December, involving a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, despite the state’s law forbidding discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The ruling in that case, due by the end of June, could resolve the issue nationwide. Several justices indicated they were likely to decide that the baker was a creative artist whose works, and decisions on whom to serve, were constitutionally protected acts of free speech.
That would appear to apply equally to the California case, in view of Lampe’s description of a wedding cake as an “artistic expression.” But maybe not, said Kevin Kish, director of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which tried to enforce the state law against Miller.