California Court Says A Wedding Cake is Protected By the First Amendment

wedding cakeThis is interesting, and not just because the ruling came out of a court in California. The state charged a baker with breaking the law because they refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple. The court has denied the State’s motion for preliminary injunction in favor of the baker, Cathy Miller.

There’s a good deal of detail to consume, and while most court rulings are a challenge, this one is actually compelling.

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.

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.

I don’t agree that any private person operating in any public capacity is required to serve whoever shows up for any reason and I don’t think the state should be in the business of insisting otherwise. The free market, word of mouth, and competition will deal with them in due course. But this case is being decided on the basis of California law as written which has to be infuriating to the progressives who wrote it.

Silence, the court notes, is a form of protected speech. Refusing to stand for the pledge of allegiance is protected. So, in their opinion, given that the wedding cake made from scratch is a form of (artistic) expression, the baker has the right to refuse to make it knowing that it will service ideas that run contrary to her religious beliefs; beliefs that are protected by the same law the state used in its prosecution.

And is often the case, this baker isn’t the only one in town.

(Cathy) Miller (the defendant) has entered into an agreement to refer same-sex couples to competitor, Gimme Some Sugar, based upon her understanding that the owner of that bakery does not have any prohibitory policies.

Despite this arrangement the case was brought by the state, the baker accused, and in what I find an astonishing stab at justice, the court ruled against the state.

The ruling is included below and it’s filled with interesting tidbits about expression, speech, and religious protections. Take a look.

Wedding cake decision California