California judge rules cake maker entitled not to serve same sex couples

A California cake maker may refuse service to same-sex couples over her religious objections and right to free speech, a Superior Court judge in the US state has ruled.

The BBC are reporting how the bakery owner's lawyers argued that making the cakes for same sex couples would violate her Christian beliefs and rights to free religious expression.

The case echoes back to a similar row in Northern Ireland in 2015 when a judge ruled a bakery discriminated against a gay customer by refusing to make a cake with a pro-gay marriage slogan.

The Antrim bakery had been taken to court by a gay rights activist assisted by the North's Equality Commission.

In today's case in the US the judge ruled the act of making cakes is protected as artistic expression and did not therefore violate anti-discrimination law.

"A wedding cake is not just a cake in a Free Speech analysis. It is an artistic expression by the person making it that is to be used traditionally as a centerpiece in the celebration of a marriage," Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe wrote.

The BBC report that Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller said she was "very happy to serve everything from my cases to anybody", but could not "be a part of a celebration that goes against my lord and saviour".

The US Supreme Court is set to rule on another case involving Colorado baker Jack C Phillips who has argued he can refuse service to same-sex couples based on his First Amendment rights.

The court will hear the case in December.

- Digital Desk

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