In a decision described as a “sharp blow” to “escalating persecution,” a judge has rejected a demand that a Christian baker in California provide a wedding cake for a same-sex duo.
The ruling comes in a case brought by the state against Tastries Bakery, which is developing just as the U.S. Supreme Court considers the case of Jack Phillips’ Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado.
Oral arguments in the Colorado case were held earlier this month, although a decision isn’t expected for a number of months.
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund confirmed Thursday that a judge in Kern County Superior Court rejected a demand for a temporary restraining order against Cathy Miller, a cake artist at Tastries.
The plan was to forbid her “from selling to anyone any item they are unwilling to sell” to the homosexual duo.
“Specifically, the government wanted a court order to compel Miller to create wedding cakes for LGBT persons even though doing so would violate her sincerely held religious beliefs. The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF) is defending Miller and appeared on her behalf at this morning’s court hearing,” the legal team explained.
“The government [dropped] this needless motion on Cathy without notice, forcing her to scramble with less than 12 hours to prepare,” said Charles LiMandri, the chief counsel for the organization. “This unprofessionalism is just another example of the LGBT activists and their government allies’ crusade to crush Cathy because of her Christian beliefs.”
Last August, “two LGBT activists entered Tastries purportedly wanting a wedding cake, even though they had gotten married the previous December,” the legal team explained.
“Miller respectfully let the couple know that designing a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex marriage violated her religious beliefs about marriage. She then recommended a local baker who could create their cake. The women promptly left and took to social media to broadcast what had happened, sparking hate messages and death threats against Miller and her employees.”
They later filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which launched an investigation and then ordered Miller to provide detailed answers to questions about her personal and business life.
The judge explained he hadn’t heard Miller’s version of events, there was no urgency because the demand for the cake was last August and the case involves “fundamental rights” for both sides.
Actually, religious rights are protected in the Constitution, while the rights to homosexual “marriage” were created by a narrow 5-4 majority in the Supreme Court in a ruling supported by two justices who publicly advocated for the status while the case was pending.
The dissenting minority, including Chief Justice John Roberts, contended the majority’s ruling was unconnected to the Constitution.
“It’s no coincidence that the DFEH’s new attack on Cathy comes as the Supreme Court weighs the similar case of cake artist Jack Phillips in Colorado. The assault on religious liberty and the freedom of conscience is simply astounding. But neither Cathy nor we are backing down – the freedom of all Americans is at stake,” LiMandri said.
WND reported when the high court heard arguments in the Phillips case that while LGBT activists have portrayed the case as a dispute over being treated equally in public accommodations, it’s actually more about the Constitution’s protections for free speech and religious rights.
“Several of the justices asked questions that suggested they are concerned about how far a ruling in favor of the baker might extend. Liberal Justice Elena Kagan wondered about whether a hairstylist, chef or a makeup artist could refuse service, claiming their services are also speech protected by the Constitution,” one report said after the hearing.
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy commented on the implications of the decision for religious liberty.
Other critics of Colorado’s actions have done the same, previously warning that if the homosexuals are supported by the ultimate court ruling, Muslim bakers could be forced to promote Jewish holidays and black bakers to promote a KKK message.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, which is defending Phillips, however, has pointed out in its arguments that the same Colorado commission that is punishing Phillips exonerated three other “cake artists who refused to express religious messages” with which they disagreed. Those rejected messages were all Christian messages.
“Had the commission applied the same rationale to those artists that it applied to Phillips, it would have punished them too. After all, [the law] forbids refusing service because of religious beliefs, and those cake artists admitted that they declined the requests because of the religious beliefs expressed on the cakes,” the organization said in its brief.
Kennedy also pointed out that the Colorado commission was “neither … tolerant nor respectful of Mr. Phillips’ religious beliefs.”
In fact, the state commission’s antagonism to Christian beliefs became evident at the outset of the case, when one member, Diann Rice, publicly exhibited bias against Phillips during a hearing, comparing him to a Nazi.
“I would also like to reiterate what we said in the hearing or the last meeting,” Rice said during consideration of Phillips’ case. “Freedom of religion and religion has been used to justify all kinds of discrimination throughout history, whether it be slavery, whether it be the Holocaust, whether it be – I mean, we – we can list hundreds of situations where freedom of religion has been used to justify discrimination. And to me it is one of the most despicable pieces of rhetoric that people can use to – to use their religion to hurt others.”
Hear a recording of Rice’s statement: