Photo: Barrios, The Californian

Christian baker Cathy Miller was in state court yesterday to defend her First Amendment freedoms against the State of California’s lawsuit seeking to force her to create custom artwork expressing messages that violate her core beliefs.

FCDF Chief Counsel Charles LiMandri represented Miller at Tuesday’s hearing. LiMandri argued that the State’s lawsuit is nothing more than a vindicative assault on Miller’s First Amendment’s freedoms.

“No American should be persecuted for disagreeing with the government. The government must allow artists like Cathy to make their own decisions about which messages they will promote. Cathy is happy to serve all people at her bakery, but she will not be forced to create messages that violate her Christian faith.”

Daniel Piedra, FCDF Executive Director

Miller owns and operates Tastries bakery, which creates custom baked goods for weddings and other events. Miller’s deeply held religious beliefs guide her in determining which messages she will promote in her custom baked goods. However, California’s anti-discrimination law forces Miller to use her artistic talents to celebrate and promote same-sex marriages in violation of her beliefs.

In 2017, a same-sex couple complained to the State that Cathy refused to sell them a cake for their wedding celebration. The government then sought a court order that would force Miller to create custom wedding cakes for everyone or nobody at all. In March 2017, Judge David Lampe denied California’s request, ruling that the First Amendment protects Miller’s right to live and work according to her sincerely held religious beliefs. Despite the loss, the government filed a new lawsuit against Miller, seeking crippling fines and punitive damages.

In response, FCDF attorneys filed an “anti-SLAPP” motion against California, arguing that the government’s retaliatory lawsuit is a “strategic lawsuit” targeting Cathy because of her religious beliefs.

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