The State of California requested a court order to force bakeshop owner Cathy Miller to design a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.
California Superior Court judge David Lampe said no.
For the first time ever, a court ruled in favor of religious liberty and freedom of expression … Judge Lampe rejected the argument that personal offense trumps conscience.
In his opinion, he wrote, “The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace.”
Anti-discrimination law prohibits a business from refusing to sell a product to a customer out of prejudice. The judge acknowledged that fact. But then he explained:
“The difference here is that the cake in question is not yet baked. The State is not petitioning the court to order defendants to sell cake. The State asks this court to compel Miller to use her talents to design and create cake she has not yet conceived with the knowledge that her work will be displayed in celebration of marital union her religion forbids … Such an order would be the stuff of tyranny.”
Besides, Cathy Miller hadn’t refused to sell a cake to the same-sex couple…
She had offered to sell them a pre-made cake from her display case … and had recommended another bakery if they were insistent on a custom-made cake.
Judge Lampe’s opinion included a similar but hypothetical case: a baker who strongly supports LGBT rights refuses to design and create a wedding cake for a Catholic couple because of the Catholic Church’s teaching against same-sex marriage…
Would the court force the baker to create such a cake?
“The answer,” he said, “is ‘No.’ This court has an obligation to protect Free Speech, regardless of whose foot the shoe is on.”
Brilliant – and rational – analysis of First Amendment religious freedom rights versus anti-discrimination law.
A similar same-sex wedding cake case – Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission – is under review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Oral arguments were heard last December – a ruling is expected by the end of the current Supreme Court term in late June or early July.
Pray that the U.S. Supreme Court will come to the same conclusion as California Superior Court judge David Lampe.
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