Two women who were refused a wedding cake by Tastries Bakery owner Cathy Miller because they were marrying each other say they plan to pursue legal action.

Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio talked Thursday about their experiences at Tastries and why they believe they have to fight back against her discrimination.

Their life has been a whirlwind of media inquiries, support from family and friends, nasty Facebook messages from people across the nation and unexpected attention.

They say they didn’t ask for any of it. They could just walk away and let it all die down.

But they won’t.

“Because it’s not right,” Eileen said in the couple's first media interview. “What she did to us was not right. Nobody should have to go through what we had to.”

Businesses are prohibited from discriminating against people based on their sexual orientation under California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Whitney Weddell, a leader in the Bakersfield LGBTQ community, said the Department of Fair Employment and Housing — which enforces the Unruh Act — has already contacted the couple.

And they are talking to the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Center for Lesbian Rights about their legal options, she said.

“We expect that we will exhaust every legal strategy,” Weddell said.

Miller, contacted by phone and email Thursday, declined to comment for this story.

REJECTED

Eileen Del-Rio and Mireya Rodriguez began dating two years ago, fell in love and got married.

But they never had a traditional wedding party.

So they have planned a big December ceremony, complete with officiant and vows.

They were missing a cake.

On Aug. 17, they checked out Tastries on Rosedale Highway and were very pleased.

The prices were good, the tastings free and the service great, so the couple signed up for a tasting appointment on Aug. 26.

When they got there the employee they had been working with whispered in Mireya’s ear that her boss would be taking over the tasting.

Then they met Cathy Miller.

She took them to a seat in the back of the shop, said Margaret Del Rio, Eileen’s mother, who was with them.

Miller immediately started asking them questions they had already answered when they set up the tasting, Eileen said.

When she pointed that out, Eileen said, Miller said she was taking the information down and would transfer their cake to her competitor Stephanie at Gimme Some Sugar.

They asked why.

“She said, ‘I don’t condone same-sex marriage,’” Eileen said.

For Mireya, who only came out as gay recently, it was a heavy blow.

“I’d never had someone discriminate and put me down and make me feel bad,” she said.

“We were totally dumbfounded by the statement,” Eileen said. “I was upset. I was hurt. I was angry because it affected her so bad.”

Miller offered to let them stay and taste the cake.

But her tone wasn’t kind, Eileen said.

They got up and left without tasting a bite. Why would they, Eileen said, when they would never be able to order the cake.

Eileen posted about the experience on Facebook, Mireya developed a 30-minute nosebleed brought on by the heat and stress, and they went home — ready for the day to be over.

VIRAL

They found out their story had explode online when Eileen saw herself on the television news.

Since then they have been bombarded with calls and messages both good and bad.

Support has poured in.

But people from across the nation have sent them texts calling them unnatural, telling them to let the issue drop and get a cake somewhere else and accusing them of  going into Tastries so they could destroy a good Christian business.

“It’s been stressful and emotionally draining,” Mireya said.

But they plan to stand up for themselves and others like them.

“We didn’t ask for it, but here it is,” Eileen said.

TWO IN ONE

One other couple, Ted Freitas and Adam Ramos, were denied a cake by Tastries Aug. 26. They declined to be interviewed but provided a statement they'd made on Facebook.

What frustrated them most was being “strung along.”

“We did not, at any time, hide the fact that we were two engaged men looking to buy a wedding cake. Staff on all occasions were more than happy to help us and even offered for us to attend one of their cake-tasting events which we signed up for,” they wrote.

But when Miller learned Freitas and Ramos were marrying, she transferred their order to another bakery.

“Had it been disclosed to us upfront during our initial visit that Tastries does not cater to same-sex couples, we would have gladly taken our business elsewhere,” the statement read. We hold no ill will against Cathy personally, and we have no intent on taking any legal actions. We just wish she would have handled the situation in a better manner, and we will no longer be doing business or referring anyone to Tastries,” Freitas wrote.

But other same-sex couples say they got wedding cakes from Tastries.

PIPELINE

And that may be because employees of Tastries tried to help people like Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio have their cake. The couple said the employee they worked with knew they were gay but was kind, helpful and — when things went bad — apologetic.

And she, apparently, wasn't the only one.

Justin Salinas said he decorated cakes for Tastries Bakery on and off for three years. This week he released a video on YouTube talking about his time at the bakery. He encouraged Miller to have a change of heart, apologize to people she hurt and seek forgiveness.

He told a reporter Wednesday there was a sort of unspoken battle over same-sex wedding cakes at the bakery.

Some employees — mostly decorators — formed an underground “pipeline” to help same-sex couples get wedding cakes made, Salinas said. They hid same-sex order forms then would fill the orders and try to get the cakes delivered without being caught.

Because Miller’s husband, Michael Miller, delivered most of the cakes, it was hard to get one to clients. But what partly made it possible, Salinas said, was that Cathy Miller was trying to open a second bakery downtown.

That expansion didn’t work out but Miller, Salinas said, was often gone from the Rosedale Highway bakery.

“She was focused on building an empire that was falling at her feet,” he said.

Salinas estimated that in his time there, about five same-sex couples got cakes through the pipeline. He said he didn’t believe Miller knew there was an effort to circumvent her policy, but she did go through decorators' order files regularly.

And she did remove orders and call gay and lesbian clients to cancel their cake, Salinas said.

“One couple ordered a cake from us,” he said. “Cathy called a week before (the wedding) and said she couldn’t make the cake.”

James Burger can be reached at 661‑395-7415. Follow him on Twitter: @KernQuirks.

(30) comments

Gemini3901

All this judgement by self proclaimed Christians- isn't it ironic.

GaryJohns

Do liberal cake makers have to bake cakes for white supremacists? ….

MatthewK

This law does not protect everyone, only those who agree with the ultra liberal Cali government views. There is no protection for Christians or moderates in this place. LGBT... are the MOST protected groups in history! Also the most politically astute. They have mastered the art of manipulation. Say something they don't like or don't do what they want and you will pay a very dear price! Anyone who disagrees witb the agenda be on notice: yoy will be destroyed! These are peaceful loving people. NOT!

First off why are certain religions allowed to come out and say they don't agree with homosexuality and others aren't .. I'm sure if this couple went to a Muslim backery they would have been told the same thing but they wouldn't go to one cause we already know that Muslims don't accept homosexuality ...and everyone seems to accept that .. but whatch out world if a Christian stands up and says we don't condone Homosexuals live style then all #$_& brakes loose .... She didn't take the two women to the rooftop and throw them off cause they were gay.. no she even went as far as setting them up with another cake decorator... What a jerk!!! Lol.. second thing u all like throwing around the Constitution or any other law when it suits your needs but that law you are talking about opens a pretty big door to interpretation. So what if a man walks in and says he would like a cake of himself and a little boy holding hands and you find out after he is a petifile ( misspelled ). Are u allowed to refuse then ..I mean that is his sexual orientation!!! Or the person that likes to have sex with animals or Thierry sister or brother or daughter or son. Exactly where do you draw the line on one's freedom of sexual orientation .. and thirdly why does homosexuals get a voice but the Baker doesn't... And how did the media come to find out about the situation except that the gay couple went to social media and vented to get a reaction.. so I believe the law for freedom of speech. Still does exist in America so why isn't the Baker allowed a voice as well???????????????

Believer

It is not "just a cake for a wedding ceremony." This lie is meant to deceive everyone. For Christians, a wedding ceremony is a religious event and the baker should not have to use their talents to service events, especially religious ones that they disagree with. This is not a birthday party.

The baker has served ordinary menu items to gays in their bakery daily -- so Tastries is not refusing service because of their sexual orientation. That sin is on them. However, marriage is religious and the first divine law of Christianity, Genesis 2:24-25. Jesus reiterated and confirmed the importance of the joining together of male and female in Matthew 19 as the only union for marriage and cannot be changed.

True Christians know that the SCOTUS does not have authority to rule on anything concerning marriage; it is strictly religious, created and instituted by God. In fact, the Holy Scriptures are the only written definition of marriage, when what who how, of any laws, anywhere.

So the SCOTUS lied that it found some authority for marriage somewhere in America's Constitution, when marriage isn't even remotely part of the Constitution. It's in the Bible! This is the problem for the baker, the florist, the pizzeria, the county clerk, and others. The SCOTUS is to blame for the "false same sex marriage law" that it created. The SCOTUS unjustly interfered in religious law. Now they have to keep on lying about it, which is not surprising since they had to align themselves with the homosexual agenda which is loaded with lies.

No more lies! Homosexuality is all lies. They outright reject who God created them to be or their natural sexuality and instead cling to lies that they are something that they will never be. Because homosexuals reject the truth in favor of lies, by their own design and their own free will, they can't reasonably expect Christians to reject the truth and go along with and participate in their falsehood and sin. NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!!! Christianity is all about the TRUTH.

Peter Roth

If they was a couple of soul sista's she would of bake they cake

Raechelleg

No she wouldn't, the women did not say they were marrying one another.

jayj87

So, I don see a problem here? You cant force somebody to provide a service that's in the 13th amendment. I'm pretty sure its their right to refuse service if it makes them uncomfortable, or they feel it goes against their religion. Its not like they shamed them and kicked them out, I do believe they gave them another bakery that would make their cake so... why the big deal? you cant force people to agree with your personal life style, and demand acceptance from everyone.
Would the tables not be turned it, if it would of been say David Duke requesting a cake for his annual KKK rally? NOPE prob. give them the key to the city right.. IDK would you force Muslim to make a Jesus cake? would it be different if they were Satanist it would it be ok then? I do believe the owner said they have no prob. with selling them anything they would just not partake in a wedding cake for a same sex marriage.

The Todd

Both your ignorance as well as the ignorance of others in these comments is outstanding, especially when there was a previous article that explained why the owner is breaking the law. You do not have the right to refuse service to everyone. There's a reason you don't see "No Negroes Allowed" signs anymore. We have these things called Civil Rights. More specifically, we have the Unruh Civil Rights Act. That Act states that ""All persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, or sexual orientation are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever." Freedom of Religion doesn't mean you get to choose what laws you do and do not follow. You cannot refuse service due to the customer's sexuality. Under the law, it's no different than refusing them because of their skin color.
In your examples, you can deny David Duke because the KKK doesn't fall into any of those protected groups. You can't deny other people because of their religion though, so the other two examples would be just as bad as what is happening now.

Lamonster

And here I thought that the reason we have the Unruh Act was so that people who might historically have been treated as second class citizens could be protected from such discrimination. Now with your exclusion of everyone who doesn't wear the badge of "protected status" such as David Duke, you seem to be advocating not just equal treatment under the law but special treatment over and above those you find, dare I say, deplorable?

The Todd

You seem to be confused. Everyone is protected under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. David Duke is offered all the protections that the law provides. He cannot be denied service because of his race, religion, sexual orientation, etc. However, the KKK does not fall under any of these categories, therefore you can refuse the business of that organization.

Lamonster

Gotcha, thanks for clearing that up Todd. Only individuals have protected rights, not groups or organizations. Or is it all organizations or just select groups that can be denied?

Raechelleg

Well stated, agree who's rights matter?

tcorfman

Bake cake, and turn proceeds over to groups opposing homosexual marriage. Thank customer for contributing to your religious belief.

Bodysnatcher

Word to all you liberal, unnatural life style fools: You sometimes can't have your cake and eat it too. Just drop this and move on to someone who will support your putrid life style.

Wim Laven

I feel sorry that the couple has experienced such a strong and hateful backlash in what is supposed to be a fantastic celebration.

But, I'm very glad that California has laws that protect against this kind of hateful discrimination with such clarity. I hope their legal settlement provides some much needed relief after this experience is over.

I'm sorry for the posters here who are getting fired up, it seems to be (primarily) a result of ignorance of the law, but it also is clearly a response to an un/Christian understanding of holding others in judgment. The ignorance, however, rears its head when individuals believe their freedoms are limitless, because they are not.

Freedom of religion doesn't function when it begins to trample on the civil rights and liberties of others.

It looks like ignorance will be responsible for seeing the number of bakeries in Bakersfield reduced by one. So sad!

Bodysnatcher

Freedom of religion doesn't function when the state blocks a person's freedom to excercise their religious beliefs. A person can disagree with another without injecting hate. I don't believe Miller has hate for the homosexuals, but she certainly doesn't have to agree or support their life styles. I know plenty of gays and lesbians and I don't hate them or wish them harm, but I certainly don't agree or condone their choice of life styles and I NEVER will. I didn't know of Miller's bakery until this ridiculous story, but I feel pressed to do business with her and give her my money.

Raechelleg

The bakery owner falls under the same protection Act as the gay couple, so to sue is a waist of tax payers money, not too mention sad because you were turned away and got your feelings hurt you believe you deserve recourse! Please that is not the only bakery, grab your tissues and go somewhere else!

bakodon

My Christian Bible teaches me this type of "love" is wrong! What happened to freedom of religion in the USA! We have dumbed down this freedom, usually by left wing progressive Democrats, where we feel guilty about speaking out! No more if two gay people want to sin, so be it but leave the rest of us alone. You are entitled to you lifestyle. You are not ok to infringe upon my FREEDOMS! Because you believe you were offended (?) you now play the LBGCBNJHTTFE card oh so me. Grow up and get a life!

Raechelleg

Yesssssssss!

Pitbullll

How sad..... It's not about a cake that could easily be purchased somewhere else. It's not about reasonable respect and accommodation of Cathy Miller's religious freedoms as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

It is, in fact, all about self-described "tolerant, diverse and inclusive" leftists who (really aren't and) falsely claim victimhood and moral outrage which they abuse as justification to destroy those who disagree with their world view.

This is the modus operandi of the Left.

And the liberal fascists at the Bakersfield Californian are only too happy to fan the flames of leftist hatred

Raechelleg

Thank you for facts, not bashing.

Bud

Curchillis 1 you frame the situation beautifully and accurately. Where has the freedom to express and live out our religious beliefs gone? Cathy is not denying products of her bakery to ANYONE, infact will create birthday cakes for ALL. But states that she will not PARTICIPATE in a CEREMONY that violates her spiritual beliefs. She bent over backwards to accommodate their wishes by referral.

Churchillis1

So, let me get this straight.... A business owner has no problem serving people of all sexual orientations. She does, however, refuse to participate in a same sex marriage that she (and a majority of Californians who voted for it....TWICE) finds morally objectionable. To ensure there is no damage to these ladies, she has an arrangement with another baker who will take care of their needs and does not have the same moral objection. So, explain to me the "damages?"
What these ladies are saying is "No, it is not enough that we got our cake. It is not enough that a court over ruled the will of the electorate. We DEMAND that you, a Christian who feels that this is a sinful act and merely begs to not participate in it, you bake the cake. Furthermore, if you do not cave in to our DEMANDS that YOU PERSONALLY bake this cake, we will use the full force of the might of the government to either compel you to do what we DEMAND or we will have you shut down."
And you leftists call yourself "tolerant." If this is "tolerance," somebody give me a new definition for "bullying."

byebyeCA

Don't think God cares one way or the other, otherwise it wouldn't of happened. As for what will happen when we get to the other side no one knows as no one has returned with a report.

sinsear

The Bible (which is the word of God) STRONGLY condemns homosexuality, so Tastries "freedom of religion" is being violated here.

Gloria Longley

Her business will suffer due to her actions. Does she really think God will have open arms when she leaves this earthly plane?! He see's our hearts and when your heart is darkened because of no compassion or love for fellow man, well I don't think his arms will be wide open. I'm sorry there is so much judgement in our world. I hope this all works out for these two ladies.

sinsear

You apparently are unfamiliar with the Bible,..which condemns homosexuality as being "unnatural".

Raechelleg

Nobody here was victimized, if her business was to suffer that is her choice. Just to let you know God is real, if you choose not to believe that is your choice, but to pass judgement is wrong and if you are not to young to remember Yes on 8 then you could understand why she turned them to another business. Some people decided to stand behind there beliefs even if it means loosing business. I'm proud of her for not selling out to society.

Frank1414

suffer? Perhaps. All I can say is that I've never been there, but I'll be a customer now.

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