BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Tastries Bakery clearly violated a state civil rights act when it refused to make a gay couple a wedding cake because of their sexual orientation, a state attorney said Friday.

Gregory Mann, an attorney with the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, which is suing Tastries owner Cathy Miller, noted she testified the couple would have received the cake if they had been heterosexual. He said her actions violate the Unruh Act, which says all people, regardless of sexual orientation, must be given equal services at all businesses.

Miller has testified her Christian beliefs regarding marriage — that it only occur between a man and a woman — preclude her from baking cakes for same-sex weddings. She said creating a cake would suggest she supports the union. She instead refers gay couples to another baker.

In 2017, Miller denied Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez Del-Rio a wedding cake and the couple contacted DFEH.

If Superior Court Jude Eric Bradshaw finds in the department’s favor, Miller would have to either make wedding cakes for same-sex couples, delegate that job to another employee or stop baking wedding cakes altogether. He has 90 days to make a ruling.

As he presented his closing argument, Mann said he’s been asked why the Rodriguez Del-Rios didn’t just go to another bakery and drop the matter. That’s beside the point, he said. Every business must provide equal service under the law.

“How can you have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness when you walk into a business and the business sells a product to the person in front of you and says, ‘I’m not going to sell to you because of who you are?'” Mann said.

A bakery doesn’t have to offer every conceivable cake, pastry or cookie ever created, the attorney said. But the products it does offer must be made available to every customer.

Miller attorney Charles LiMandri, with the Thomas More Society, portrayed his client as the victim, saying she is being punished for expressing her sincere religious beliefs. He said what Eileen and MIreya Rodriguez Del-Rio, the gay couple, did to Miller is worse than what happened to them.

Her business received an “avalanche” of hateful social media messages and phone calls, LiMandri said. They got threats and employees were afraid to come to work. Tastries’ Yelp rating plummeted.

The couple wants Miller punished, the attorney said, because she exercised her right to free speech.

He argued the creation of a wedding cake is artistic expression and therefore protected under the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

State attorneys are essentially seeking to force Miller to create a work of art, LiMandri said. He also displayed multiple rulings in which the right of religious expression has been upheld regarding wedding services, although they didn’t address whether wedding cakes were protected under the First Amendment.

As Miller’s business suffered, the Rodriguez Del-Rios received offers of free cakes, venues and other services for their wedding celebration, the attorney said. They got a cake they were happy with and suffered no material harm, he said.

In his rebuttal, Mann said he takes “extreme issue” with LiMandri saying the Rodriguez Del-Rios weren’t harmed. As victims of discrimination, they were inherently denied of their dignity, he said.

A win for Tastries could lead to other business following suit, Mann said. It could take us back to a time where business owners decide only certain people get services.