At Hearing, Christian Baker Argues Same-Sex Wedding Cake Case is “Over”
Today, Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe heard oral argument on Cathy Miller’s motion to enforce the judge’s March 2018 ruling upholding Cathy’s First Amendment rights. Despite suffering the court loss, California state officials contend they still have executive authority to investigate Cathy under the state’s anti-discrimination law. Charles LiMandri, chief counsel of the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund (FCDF), argued on Cathy’s behalf.
“The case is over,” LiMandri said. “But it’s clear that California’s pro-LGBT bureaucrats are focusing more on advancing their agenda than obeying the court’s ruling.”
“The case is over,” LiMandri said. “But it’s clear that California’s bureaucrats are focusing more on advancing their pro-LGBT agenda than obeying the court’s ruling.”CHARLES LIMANDRI, FCDF CHIEF COUNSEL
The Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) launched a formal investigation last October after a same-sex couple filed a discrimination complaint alleging that she refused to bake a wedding cake for them because of their sexual orientation. DFEH officials then moved for a preliminary injunction in California state court, seeking an order that would force Cathy to either design custom wedding cakes for same-sex couples or none at all. If granted, Cathy faced losing 40% of her business as owner of Tastries Bakery. In ruling against the DFEH, Judge Lampe held that the government cannot force Cathy to engage in expressive speech that violates her conscience.
The DFEH lawyers initially appealed the decision, but they quickly withdrew it and instead relaunched their original prosecution of Cathy under California’s anti-discrimination law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, which they argue still applies to Cathy’s case. State officials are demanding to interrogate Cathy, her husband, and a Tastries employee. In response, FCDF attorneys filed a motion to enforce Judge Lampe’s ruling.
“Judge Lampe affirmed that the First Amendment protects Cathy’s right to live and work according to her religious beliefs,” said LiMandri. “The government is obviously trying to punish Cathy for her faith, so we hope the judge puts an end to this vindictive witch hunt.”
“Judge Lampe affirmed that the First Amendment protects Cathy’s right to live and work according to her religious beliefs. The government is obviously trying to punish Cathy for her faith, so we hope the judge puts an end to this vindictive witch hunt.”CHARLES LIMANDRI, FCDF CHIEF COUNSEL
At the hearing, LiMandri argued that the DFEH cannot continue to prosecute Cathy for two main reasons. First, the legal doctrine of res judicata – which means “a matter judged” in Latin – bars the DFEH as the losing plaintiff from re-suing Cathy for the same alleged violation. Second, the doctrine of collateral estoppel prevents the DFEH from litigating issues that have already received a final judgment.
FCDF expects a ruling on Cathy’s motion to enforce the judgment within the month.