After failing in its initial prosecution of a Christian baker who declined to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding, California has launched a second case against Tastries bakery.
This time the state’s claim is that the lesbians were “stunned, offended, and hurt” when they were told they could not force their beliefs on the business.
The new complaint from the state Department of Fair Employment and Housing is against Cathy’s Creations, which does business as Tastries.
It is on behalf of Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio.
The state’s first case against Tastries, over the same incident, failed. U.S. District Judge David R. Lampe ruled Tastries’ owner had a First Amendment right not to express a message with which she did not agree.
The state then renewed its investigation while the judge declared his “judgment is final” and is “not being appealed.”
“The court having rendered its judgment, the investigation must be tailored to ascertainment and discovery of facts reasonably and rationally calculated to serve as the basis for an argument for modification of the judgment,” he said.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the issue in June in Colorado’s case against Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips. The court found the state was antagonistic to Phillips’ Christian faith and concluded he had a right to decline to create such a cake.
The Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, which is defending Miller, protested to the judge after the state lost its case, declined to appeal then announced it would begin its investigation all over again.
The judge found that the state considered his decision “preliminary.”
Wrong, the judge said.
“This was a plenary judgment, not a preliminary one,” he wrote. “This judgment is final, not being appealed.”
Charles LiMandri of the FCDF had argued that the state was on a “witch hunt,” having lost once.
The judge said his ruling does not prevent the state agency from “appropriate investigation.”
“However, just as this court must respect the DFEH’s executive authority, the DFEH, and the defendants for that matter, must respect this court’s judicial authority. This court rendered a plenary judgment addressing the constitutional rights of the defendants. Neither side may submit the matter to the court’s jurisdiction without objection, ‘take the court’s temperature,’ and then act as if the court’s judgment has not been made.”
And he said the state needs to listen up.
“No one can come to court, invoke its jurisdiction, acquire the court’s judgment upon the matter, and then ignore the court’s decree. The court must act to preserve its jurisdiction,” he wrote.
Tastries referred the cake order to another bakery willing to accommodate the same-sex couple. But the couple alleges Tastries’ unwillingness to fulfill their order violated the state’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which provides “that all persons in California are free and equal.”
The state’s complaint completely overlooks the First Amendment issues, but it acknowledges Miller’s religious beliefs.
“Ms. Miller believes any preordered Tastries cake made for an event that celebrates a same-sex couple’s marriage sends a message – whether or not any one knows the cake is from Tastries – that Tastries is in agreement with the celebration — a message she is unwilling to send, without exception,” the state admits.
The state claims, however, the decision not to provide the cake was because of the women’s sexual orientation, not because of the message.
Mireya, according to the state, was became so distraught because of the Tastries decision that her nose started to bleed and she got a headache, while Eileen’s rheumatoid arthritis was aggravated.
They were so upset “they considered purchasing a premade, non-wedding cake from a grocery or big box store.”
Among the state’s demands is for the bakery to pay for all employees to go through indoctrination for each of the next five years.