Most of us are familiar with the lawsuit filed against Masterpiece Cakeshop filed by a gay couple because the Colorado bakery owner declined to make a wedding cake for them. Owner, Jack Phillips, politely explained to the couple about his strong Christian faith and even offered to sell them other baked goods and then recommended several other shops in the area that would take their order for a wedding cake. Instead of understanding that to be part of a same-sex marriage ceremony would be a violation of his Phillips’ faith, the gay couple ran whining to the Colorado Civil Rights Commission.
Phillips has fought the lawsuit, claiming that he was exercising his First Amendment right to freedom of religion. The courts ruled against Phillips, saying that his discrimination against the gay couple superseded his claim of the First Amendment rights of freedom of religion. Phillips has appealed the rulings all the way to the United States Supreme Court, who heard arguments and are deliberating their ruling on his case. The ruling of the high court will determine if Christians have any rights in America or if LGBT activists have successfully defeated Christians in the business world.
In the meantime, another bakery in Bakersfield, California has faced the same kind of lawsuit. Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery, is also a Christian and refused to take orders for wedding cakes from a pair of same-sex couples. Miller had previously made arrangements with some of her competitors to take orders for same-sex couples, and she politely referred the couples to her competitors, but like the same-sex couple with Masterpiece Cakeshop, the same-sex couples did not accept the polite recommendation, but ran whining to authorities to file a lawsuit against Miller for discriminating against them.
Acting quickly, Miller was slapped with a preliminary injunction ordering her to either make the wedding cakes for same-sex couples or stop making wedding cakes altogether. With the help of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund, Miller decided to fight against the injunction.
Monday night, Judge David Lamp, a Kern County Judge, ruled in favor of Miller and her bakery. In ordering that the preliminary injunction placed against her by the California’s Department of Fair Housing and Employment be lifted, allowing Miller to resume her business as usual. In his ruling, Judge Lampe stated, in part:
“…the right to free speech under the First Amendment outweighs the state’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace.”
Lampe also said that while the state’s goal to end discrimination is necessary, that:
“…for this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech.”
Bakersfield and Kern County is a fairly conservative area, and the court in Kern County is receiving criticism from liberals and members of the LGBT community over its ruling. The attorney for the lesbian couple behind the lawsuit commented about Lampe’s ruling, saying:
“Bakersfield and Kern County in general is very conservative and that unfortunately includes some of the judges. But it’s not over. Our fight against bigotry and discrimination is only beginning.”
Miller has also received a lot of support from others in the area, and it looks like she’ll need their support as long as the lesbians continue to persecute her for being a Christian.
In meantime, every Christian business owner in America is anxiously waiting the ruling by the Supreme Court in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, as their future rides on the court decision. A favorable decision by the high court could also help Miller in her defense, while an unfavorable ruling will make every Christian owned business and institution the target of more intentional persecution.