Cathy Miller, who operates Cathy’s Creations and Tastries in Bakersfield, has been involved in a legal battle since refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex wedding in 2017. Last week, in the case of California Civil Rights Department v. Tastries, Miller submitted a brief to the Court of Appeal of the State of California, 5th Appellate District, requesting affirmation of a lower court ruling that favored her.
The brief highlighted that Miller’s refusal to bake the same-sex wedding cake was in line with her practice of declining orders that conflicted with her moral stance on the messages they represented. Throughout her time as a business owner, Miller had refused to fill multiple orders that she had moral objections to, as is her right as a business owner and artist.
“For example, Miller will not design cakes that celebrate divorce, display violence, glorify drunkenness or drug use, contain explicit sexual content, or present gory, demonic, or satanic images,” reads the brief, in part.
“Miller also will not design cakes that demean any person or group for any reason, or that promote racism, or any other message that conflicts with Christian principles.”
The brief also states that “Miller believes that marriage is a sacred covenantal union between one man and one woman,” and she directed the same-sex couple to another bakery willing to complete their request.
Following the news of Miller’s decision, she received numerous hostile messages via social media and phone calls. These included threats of sexual violence and other forms of violent behavior.
“As the prosecution continued, so did the attacks. On the eve of the preliminary injunction hearing, Miller’s car, which had a Tastries logo, was broken into and her laptop stolen,” claimed the brief.
“That night, one of Miller’s employees was assaulted behind the bakery by a man who referred to the Department’s prosecution during the attack … Although reported to the police, none of these crimes were ever prosecuted. Miller disclosed these incidents to the Department as early as 2018 … but at no point has the Department responded to these instances of threatened and actual violence.”
Miller is being represented by Becket Law, a firm specializing in religious freedom cases and with a track record of successful arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.
“A wedding cake undoubtedly signifies that the union is a ‘marriage’ and should be celebrated. Every artist and business owner, whether they hold religious or secular beliefs, has the right to decline to convey a message they disagree with,” said Greg Burt, Vice President of the California Family Council. “Moreover, it should go without saying that Miller deserves justice for the crimes and protection from the threats made against her.”
The California Family Council has supported Miller and her right to religious liberty since the very beginning of this case. In 2018, CFC helped organize a prayer rally for the Christian baker. Miller joined them on the steps of the Kern County courthouse, along with her pastor Roger Spradlin from Valley Baptist Church, and Jonathan Keller, CEO of the California Family Council, to pray that Miller’s constitutional rights to free speech and freedom of religion were protected.
Miller achieved victory in 2022 when a state superior court ruled that a Christian baker was within her rights to refuse a request to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex ceremony, but Miller is still awaiting a decision from the Court of Appeal of the State of California.
The First Amendment ensures that we all are free to live and work by our religious beliefs. Miller is simply asking that these cherished freedoms be preserved for all Californians.