A California judge has ruled that a bakery can refuse to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples.
In Bakersfield, California, Tastries Bakery scored a victory when Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe, a Schwarzenegger appointee, ruled that refusing to bake wedding cakes for same-sex couples was protected by the First Amendment because they are forms of "artistic expression" and "expressive conduct."
In his eight page ruling, Judge Lampe explained that because the cake was not yet baked, freedom of creative expression protected the bakery from discriminatory practices. Had the cake already been baked and on display, however, refusing to sell it to a same-sex couple would have been a discriminatory act.
"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 public display case, open their shop, and then refuse to sell because of race, religion, gender, or gender identification," Judge Lampe said in his ruling. "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. For this court to force such compliance would do violence to the essentials of Free Speech guaranteed under the First Amendment."
Twitter users, like Beverly Brown, were not happy with the decision. "This judge just paved the way for people to use religion as an excuse to discriminate," she said.
One Twitter user had a rather unique take on the whole thing. Neel Krishnan interpreted the ruling as "California judge rules that wedding cake isn't food," due to the judge claiming wedding cakes are art.
Proponents of the right to discriminate on religious grounds, like Rob Walsh, were elated, calling the ruling "good news for US Christian bakers."
Apparently, the right to use religion to discriminate is "FREEDOM..."
What do you think? Should businesses be able to discriminate against customers based on their own religious beliefs? Where do we draw the line?