The state of California cannot compel a Christian baker to create a same-sex wedding cake because that would be tantamount to violation of free speech, a Superior Court judge has ruled on Feb. 5.
On Monday, Judge David Lampe turned down California's application for a preliminary injunction. Had this not been the case, Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller would have been forced to choose between baking a wedding cake for a lesbian couple or stop making wedding cakes altogether. The Christian baker would have lost up to 40 percent of her cake business if she did the latter, Town Hall detailed.
For Judge Lampe, the case was all about the First Amendment and not about discrimination. He acknowledged that using Miller's talents to create a cake for something that goes against her religious beliefs was a violation of her free speech rights.
"The State is not petitioning the court to order defendants to sell a cake. The State asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create a cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of a marital union her religion forbid," said Judge Lampe in his ruling. "For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment."
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court is set to decide on a similar case in Colorado involving Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack C. Phillips. The Christian baker maintained that he has the right to turn down orders from same-sex couples because of the free exercise of religion clause in the First Amendment, BBC News reported.
In the case of Miller, Judge Lampe warned that the ruling was not applicable to other situations. Explaining the decision, he said a retail tire shop could not refuse to sell its products just because the owner of the establishment does not want to accept same-sex couples as customers.
It is worth noting that the lesbian couple had ordered a cake without a message from Miller's shop. However, Judge Lampe said the wedding was an example of the couple's speech, which is covered by the First Amendment.