The Bakersfield Californian reports:
Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe has ruled that owner Cathy Miller can continue to refuse to make wedding cakes for same sex couples.
“The State cannot succeed on the facts presented as a matter of law. 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 ruling. “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.”
Lampe wrote that his ruling was tied closely to the fact that Miller was being asked to create a cake for an event. And he cautioned that religion does not give businesses a right to refuse service to groups protected by the Unruh Act in other circumstances.
“A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same sex couples. There is nothing sacred or expressive about a tire. No artist, having placed their work for public sale, may refuse to sell for an unlawful discriminatory purpose. No baker may place their wares in a public display case, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, gender, or gender identification,” Lampe wrote.
When the case first made the news last year, Miller said this to a local outlet: “Our business is God’s business, we work for him. I shouldn’t be picked on because of my beliefs.”
No word yet as to an appeal. Meanwhile we continue to await the Supreme Court’s decision in the Masterpiece case.