Trial date set for next year in case of local baker who refused to bake wedding cake for gay couple

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — A lawsuit filed against a local baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple is scheduled for trial next year. 

Superior Court Judge David Lampe set a trial date of June 22, 2020.

The suit was filed in December 2017 against Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller on behalf of the state Department of Fair Employmnet and Housing and Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio, the married couple who were refused service at the bakery. 

In a February 2018 ruling, Lampe said the making of a wedding cake is protected artistic expression. “The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace,” he wrote.

Lampe’s ruling, however, did not address the underlying case. It simply denied a preliminary injunction that would have compelled Tastries to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples from the time the injunction was granted to the day the case ended. 

The case will now move into discovery, including depositions and document production.

In a news release sent Monday, Miller’s attorneys at the Freedom Conscience Defense Fund said Miller does no discriminate against anyone.

“Rather, she simply does no create custom cakes that express messages or celebrate events contrary to her Christian faith,” FCDF’s Executive Director Daniel Piedra said in the release. “We are hopeful that a jury will uphold Cathy’s First Amendment right to live and work according to her religious beliefs.”

The Del Rioses said last month they want justice.

“We’re religious as well,” Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio has said. “Just because in (Miller’s) mind, her God says that they can’t do this and that. That’s not religion because God says love everybody.”

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