By SOPHIA CONSTANTINO
As legalization of same-sex marriage expands across the country, couples are ready to celebrate after years of waiting. Over the past few years, though, the news media have had no shortage of controversies to cover in the aftermath.
A frequently sparked debate is that between the engaged, gay couple and the Christian specialty baker. In November 2012, a Colorado couple, Charlie Craig and David Mullins, was refused a wedding cake by Masterpiece Cakeshop. According to Craig, “This happens all the time,” as reported in a January publication of The Guardian.
The couple would go on to take owner Catholic store-owner Jack Phillips to the U.S. Supreme Court in a five-year Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case, determining the limits of free speech and what is considered discrimination.
Though lower level court cases ruled in favor of Craig and Mullins, a similar case in California Superior Court under Judge David Lampe ruled today in favor of a baker’s rights to “artistic expression.”
Catholic baker and owner of Tastries Bakery in California Cathy Miller refused to create a wedding cake for couple Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio, though she did refer their order to Gimme Some Sugar, a nearby competitor bakery.
Miller’s lawyer claimed cake decorating is a form of artistic expression. Judge Lampe ruled that, so long as Miller does not deny the same-sex couples purchases from her counter, she is free to refuse to produce a custom cake.
In acknowledgement of the case’s sensitivity, BBC News reported Judge Lampe’s warning regarding the very circumstantial nature of the court’s ruling, “A retail tire shop may not refuse to sell a tire because the owner does not want to sell tires to same sex couples,” Lampe said, clarifying the creative aspect of the case that led to the final ruling.
The U.S. Supreme Court has yet to rule in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case.