California Court of Appeals to Hear Bakery Case

California Court of Appeals to Hear Bakery Case

Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield, California, is defending her right to decline a 2017 request for a same-sex wedding cake.

Miller, who is a member of Valley Baptist Church in Bakersfield, believes her bakery is “God’s business.” The bakery’s mission statement is to “honor God in all that we do,” and in the words of her attorneys at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, “her Christian faith influences everything from the Bible verses she puts on her business cards to the music she plays in the shop.”

Like other Christian bakers whose cases have ended up in court, such as Masterpiece Cakeshop and Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Miller serves all customers, but she will not express messages that violate her religious beliefs.

In 2017, Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio, along with two men and Eileen’s mother, came to Miller’s bakery for a tasting. Miller believed that one of the men was the groom, but she soon realized that the request was for a custom cake to celebrate a same-sex wedding.

Miller explained that she could not make their cake because it would violate her Christian beliefs. She offered to connect the group with a different custom cake designer, but the group abruptly left the shop. They later posted on Facebook about their experience, accusing Miller of discrimination. In the resulting social media storm, Tastries received negative Facebook and Yelp reviews and lost several corporate clients.

The bakery also received hundreds of profane and threatening messages and phone calls. One man called the bakery multiple times, describing acts of sexual violence he planned to carry out against bakery employees. One employee was assaulted behind the bakery by a man who referred to the case during his attack. None of those crimes were ever prosecuted, according to court documents.

California’s Department of Fair Housing and Employment sued Miller for declining to make the cake, but after a five-day trial in 2022, the California Superior Court of Kern County ruled in Miller’s favor. California appealed the ruling, and in January of this year, Miller and her attorneys filed her appeal brief with the California Fifth District Court of Appeal.

“Miller should not be forced to make the choice between upholding her faith and operating her business,” says a statement at “Americans have the freedom to bring their beliefs into the public square without being prosecuted by government officials.”

Photo: Becket Fund for Religious Liberty

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