Rosedale Highway bakery Tastries has refused to make wedding cakes for two same-sex couples in the past week, triggering a fierce debate on social media and attracting stories by national media outlets including the New York Daily News and the San Francisco Chronicle.

And people are asking if business owner Cathy Miller’s decision may have violated California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act, which requires “all business establishments of every kind whatsoever” to provide service to people in a host of protected classes — including people of diverse sexual orientations.

Legal action based on the law could land Tastries among a small collection of bakery businesses that have been sued across the nation for refusing to serve same-sex couples.

Miller said Monday that she hopes that all sides of the situation can find a peaceful path forward.

“As Christians we have a love for everyone," Miller told The Californian. "We want to embrace everyone. We are all God’s children. We are happy to make birthday cakes and cupcakes and cookies and brownies for everyone. We want to celebrate each individual regardless."

But, she said, she has to follow her beliefs.

“My conscience doesn’t allow me to participate in certain activities that are contrary to my Biblical beliefs,” Miller said. “I pray that we can all come to an understanding so that we can continue to get along.”

And despite the criticism from some corners, Miller said Tastries had a good day Monday.

“The community has loved and blessed us abundantly today at the bakery. We have had to restock the shelves three times,” she said.

THE COUPLES

But the two couples who say they were denied service by Miller are also gathering support on Facebook.

Just after noon on Saturday, Ted G. Freitas posted a story on Facebook describing the appointment he and fiancé Adam Ramos had with Miller — accompanied by a photo of the business covered by a red circle and slash.

“So the fiancé and I are out cake tasting in Bakersfield for our big day and the lady helping us — I have another name for her — asks, ‘So this is for the bride and groom?’ ‘Uh, no it says Adam and Ted on your form!’ When we let her know, that it’s for us, she quickly, without hesitation, replies, ‘Well I’m going to transfer your order to Stephanie at Gimme Some Sugar Cakes.’

"She stands up, walks away, and calls Stephanie to ‘transfer’ us — I think she meant to say refuse service to us — and refer us for an appointment. After she leaves a voicemail with Stephanie she comes back to update us and says, ‘Ok, I’ve called her and left a message. We can do the design and Stephanie can do the filling. Your welcome to stay and enjoy my cupcakes’ and walks off.”

Freitas did not respond to a message requesting an interview Monday.

Roughly an hour after Freitas’ post went live, Eileen Del Rio posted that she and her same-sex fiancé were also denied service earlier that week.

“So we go to this bakery a week ago to sign up for tasting and choose our wedding cake. The owner met with us today to set up the process. Well this rude (word removed) person says, ‘I will make your order but I don't condone same sex marriages and will have no part in this process.’ ‘Oh, but you want to take my order and give it another bakery so that bakery can do it.’ The rude person is also the owner of the place. She don't condone same sex marriages so refused to make our wedding cake and set up our order. She wanted all our information to send to another bakery so they could make it,” Del Rio wrote on her Facebook page Saturday afternoon.

Contacted Monday, Del Rio referred questions to Whitney Weddell, a longtime leader in the local LGBTQ community.

Weddell declined to comment on the Tastries situation Monday.

But friends shared their support with comments on Del Rio and Freitas’ posts and several urged the couples to sue Tastries under the Unruh Civil Rights Act.

Several posts exploded into long critiques of Miller’s decision and debates with supporters of Tastries who urged people to leave the bakery alone and questioned why Miller should have to compromise her beliefs to run a business.

"She didn't want to do it!! Okay, that's her beliefs. It doesn't mean you're going to trash her name (or) her business. She did it in a manner where she recommended a different bakery. She didn't bash you and kick you out! Today (I've) seen the true colors of the gay community, lol. Disappointed. She's a business let her move on," wrote Kyle Gaucher on Facebook.

GIMMIE SOME SUGAR

One other local bakery is struggling with the fallout from the Tastries situation.

Stephanie Caughell-Fisher, owner of Gimme Some Sugar Bakery, said her business is the one to which Miller referred Del Rio and Freitas.

She talked to the two men on Saturday.

She said the employees of Tastries had set up the appointment for the two men to taste for their cake and they knew it would be a same-sex couple.

But Miller came around, learned the cake would be for two men, and ended the appointment.

“She basically took the clipboard out of his hand and said you won’t be needing this,” Caughell-Fisher said.

“I called them immediately because I knew what she was doing over there,” she said. “I made sure they knew they didn’t have to go with Gimme Some Sugar. You can’t send someone packing because they are gay.”

But Caughell-Fisher said she’s gotten blowback from people who are asking why she agreed to accept referrals from Tastries.

She said she does not complete orders made at Tastries. And she is not, she said, in business with Miller.

She is, she said, trying to help people Miller has rejected.

“About a year ago, in August, Cathy walked into my bakery quite distraught about being asked to make cakes for same-sex couples,” Caughell-Fisher said.

Miller, she said, told her that she felt that God was telling her “not to make these people’s cakes.”

Caughell-Fisher said she told Miller, “You probably shouldn’t be turning people away because they are gay. It’s super hurtful. It’s really going to wreak their journey.”

And, she said she told Miller, it is illegal.

But Caughell-Fisher did agree to have Miller refer same-sex couples to her business.

Her hope, she said, was that she could help those couples recover from the traumatic experience they’d just had at Tastries and try to restore the sense of joy and magic that is supposed to surround a wedding.

In the past year, Caughell-Fisher said, Miller has only directly referred two couples to her.

Why didn’t she immediately call Miller out publicly for refusing to do business with same-sex couples?

It isn’t her business to tell Miller how to operate Tastries, Caughell-Fisher said.

And attacking another bakery — in Bakersfield’s competitive baked goods marketplace — would have been seen as self-serving, she said.

The discussion would have been about her attack on another business — not about Miller’s decision not to serve same-sex couples.

“I would have been the jerk if I called her out,” she said.

LEGAL BATTLES

The issue of whether business owners have the right to deny services to same-sex couples because of religious beliefs has been under debate for years as same-sex marriages became legal in more and more states and eventually the nation.

Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cake in Lakewood, Colo., refused to make a cake for Charlie Craig and David Mullins in 2012.

The couple sued and the case has made its way through trial and appeals courts and now is expected to be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court this fall, according to the Denver Post.

According to the Post, Phillips has closed his business in the wake of rulings and appeals decisions that went against him.

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

(30) comments

Edy

Bud and Athanasios, That is the problem with people interpreting the Bible in cases like this. And why this country cannot let people violate other people's rights based on the Bible. The Bible is up for interpretation. Catholics have priests that do that for them; there are 9,000 different Protestant denominations for this reason; Biblical scholars themselves are not sure how to interpret the Bible. But again I have to ask what you both ignored--is it really that big of a deal to create a cake for a same-sex marriage when you don't know what heterosexual couples sins are? Maybe they will end up abusing their children--no concern, here's your cake for the beautiful day.

Erik the Beard

I will not inject my opinion on the matter. I will, however, point out your flawed logic. I am certain that if a customer walked into her bakery and asked for a cake celebrating child abuse or drunkenness she would refuse. You cannot equate the two, as you have, unless you suffer from mental liberal delusion. The left always resorts to moral equivalency rather than rational thought.

Nevermind

Uhh.....pedophilia is a crime and being gay isn't.

Erik the Beard

Well, that escalated quickly. Who said anything about pedophilia? Of course child abuse is a crime, however, the comparison was being made between serving a customer baked goods vs participating in the celebration of a choice made.

Perhaps the owner of the bakery should donate money to the Clinton Crime Syndicate. Would you give her a pass then? It seems to work with the aloha snack-bars who donate to the Clintons and throw homos off roofs.

Liberal logic at its finest.

Nevermind

Well if your logic is that the Bible condemns homosexuality, therefore according to her beliefs she can't make the cake, then does she also, as I have stated earlier, not serve pork and lobster eaters, or those that wear blends, etc etc, because those are also specifically against God's laws. Or.....is she the interpreter of which laws to follow, and which not? Hey, if I'm gay, I move on to a different bakery no problem, no crying. But I don't see anywhere in the Bible the verse "Thou shalt not bake a cake for the sinner." Otherwise NOBODY would get a cake. Hey, if that's how she feels, that's how she feels. Nobody has a right to tell her how she feels. But they can point out the hypocrisy.

Erik the Beard

I see that the educated liberal mind still cannot differentiate between serving a sinner and participating in the celebration of sin. If you are unable to grasp that concept, I may as well talk to the wall. At least the wall is intelligent enough to not to spew fecal matter.

Without getting into theology too deep, the Old Testament law was given to define the holiness that no man can achieve, therefore directing us to our SaviorJesus Christ. Jesus Christ fulfilled the law and when He died the law died with Him. Christ defeated death and rose on the third day, giving us all salvation should we turn away from our sin and accept Him as our savior. If you actually read and understood the Bible you would not flippantly point to it to condemn others, as the law is dead. Everyone has a choice to make. You can harden your heart to the Gospel or you can accept it and God will turn your heart of stone into a heart of flesh. Jesus said, "I will write a new law upon your heart." Stop cherry picking Bible verses and taking them out of context when you know nothing of them. You see, salvation is a gift from God, through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, not of works, lest any man should boast.

Bud

Edy I would agree with you that some parts of the Bible, especially in the Old Testament are difficult for us to understand and interpretation can be varied to a very small degree, but the texts that I referred to are quite straight forward and can only be misconstrued by those who seek an alternative to the truth. If you would take the time to read the commentaries from acknowledged Bible scholars you would find the texts I have sited are clearly agreed upon. You are fishing in areas that are not relevant to this conversation.

Edy

Bud and Athanasios, Although you both wanted to provide lessons from the Bible about homosexuality, you either missed the point or have rated other sins as "acceptable" but you draw the line at same-sex marriage. Child abusers? Here's your cake. Drunk drivers? Here's your cake. By the way, the reason we don't allow people in this country to write their own rules based on the Bible is because the Bible is INTERPRETED--you can accuse me of not knowing my Scriptures all you want, but all but the most ignorant of people know that not everyone agrees with how the Bible should be interpreted. Catholics have priests that interpret the Bible for them; every Protestant religion has a different interpretation; even Biblical scholars do not agree. The languages used to write the Bible often cannot be clearly translated. We even have different versions of the Bible! Now, I wonder what would happen if all of the flour companies in the nation decided it was against their "moral code" to provide flour to bakers who refuse to sell wedding cakes for same-sex weddings.

Bud

Jemini, you don't get it. We are not bakers or candlestick makers we are human beings created for those purposes but remain creatures of a Creator. That identity should compel us to follow our Creator's plan. No, the baker is not invited to the wedding but his or her creation is the centerpiece of the event, an extension of the baker through his or her creativity. Therefore it represents the baker. To honor a ceremony clearly in opposition to God's Word would clearly be a violation of conscience for the baker. A beautiful cake does not come out of a box, it is the creation of and reflection of its creator.

Gemini3901

Bud- please put your Bible back in the box. Religious belief is a very personal one for everyone and anyone who chooses to find solace and peace in whatever type of worship they want. This being said, when you have a business providing a service to the public that's what you should stick to- providing a service to the public. It is not your responsibility to try and convert anyone via cakes or candlesticks: provide a service, get paid. If you want to discriminate against a protected class and break the law, as a business owner that is your right. Just don't be surprised at the backlash. Any service provider that doesn't want to provide a service without interjecting their personal belief or attitudes, should find something else to do.

Stephen

And if any morons make hate mail, calls, etc, to her over this or any issue, I hope the local police, or FBI if appropriate, aggressively enforce the law!

Stephen

Not that I don't sympathize with or appreciate her beliefs contractors of all sorts (including me as an employee) have done work we don't like; that is we recommended against it but recognizing it's our job to satisfy the customer ended up doing it. She should recognize that baking a cake for a same sex couple isn't the same thing as "approving" of that activity. As other commentators have observed the baker isn't a participant in the ceremony. They provided an element used in that ceremony. That's not the same thing as demonstrating approval.

Gemini3901

Bakers should stick to baking- that's what they're in business for. They are not being invited to be part of the celebration that they don't agree with. Stop judging and do your job and if not, don't complain about the feedback you get for crappy service.

Bud

Dear Edy, apparently you are unfamiliar with the Bible or you posses a translation that I am totally unaware of. There are references throughout scripture, both Old and New Testaments, that reveal God's judgment on homosexuality. To make it easy, turn in the New Testament to 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10 that will give you a good start. May God Bless Cathy and her husband for not only believing God's Word but most importantly living it.

GaryJohns

Make them a Fruitcake. Take it or leave it....

Kennbeal

Interesting. This discussion will not me use the word Na?i.

Kennbeal

Ever new such a law existed. I would rather the proprietor have the right, the freedom, to refuse service to whomever they like. Of course they have to live with the consequences. According to the law, if a person shows up in a uniform, they must be served. And that's OK?

The Todd

Wearing a uniform is not a protected class under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Your sexuality is protected under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. It's fairly simple. I'd rather not go back to the days where a business owner could put a "Whites Only" sign in their window, but that's just my opinion.

Edy

Her conscience doesn't allow her to participate in activities that are contrary to her Biblical beliefs. The problem is the Bible isn't a clear rule book on what is right and wrong. The Ten Commandments don't have a commandment "Thou shall not engage in homosexual behavior" and the Bible doesn't specifically say homosexuality is a sin. Even if it is, God promises to forgive all sins. The Bible doesn't say homosexuality is any exception. So why choose to treat one sinner differently than another? Would God really appreciate her acting like him--sitting in Judgment? If she was omniscient, she might think differently of homosexuality; if she could see the private lives of everyone else around her--she doesn't know who she's dealing with. They could be wife beaters, child abusers, drug dealers, pornographers, etc. Is she happy to turn a blind eye? Or does she just think these are more acceptable sinners?

Athanasios

Edy - it seems to me that you are attempting to judge the owner based on what appears to be a very limited understanding of Scripture. I'm not going to engage in a debate with you, but forgiveness of sins is a two way street, and the Ten Commandments are not an all inclusive rule book. I say this not in the context of the debate on homosexuality, but rather on using a bad interpretation of Scripture as an accusation or judgment against another individual. Thank you, and may God bless us both.

Nevermind

Yes, the 10 Commandment aren't the only laws. There's rules regarding how you treat your slaves. Does she also ban people from wearing polyester mixes? How about people that love BBQ pork, they are law breakers. How about if they spot you at the Red Lobster? How about the guy who refuses to have his son stoned to death by the neighbors for being unruly, can he get a cake? Oh that's right, only you can interpret the Bible

Pitbullll

How telling......

Once again the self-described "diverse and inclusive" liberal fascist mob has assembled to destroy anyone who doesn't agree with them.

And of course the Bakersfield Californian will be posting lots of stories to fan the flames of progressive bigotry.

It's not about a cake. It's about destroying those who refuse to submit to the tyranny of the fascist groupthink mob.

The Todd

I'm pretty sure it's about following the law, not "destroying those who refuse to submit to the tyranny of the fascist groupthink mob." You can believe in anything you want, but you can't break the law because of your beliefs.

Pitbullll

Then I'm pretty sure you haven't read, much less understand, the 1st Amendment.

The Todd

I've read the 1st Amendment plenty. You need to familiarize yourself with the Unruh Civil Rights Act. Lucky for you, the author of this article provided information about the Act in the sidebar to the left.

Aurore518

This is discrimination, plain and simple. It is illegal for a business to deny service to someone based on their sexual orientation in the state of California. The owner may have tried to refuse service "nicely" by referring these couples to another bakery, but that does not change the fact that she discriminated against these couples and denied services based on their sexual orientation. How would people feel if she denied service to a couple of color or a non-Christian couple based on her "religious beliefs"? Using religion to justify discrimination doesn't make it right, excusable, or legal in California. Legal action should be taken. I personally will never support a business who discriminates against anyone.

Churchillis1

According to this story, the bakery owner has no problem serving homosexual people or selling goods to homosexual people. She only objects to participating in a same-sex marriage. She even has an arrangement with another bakery to help complete orders for her which she finds morally objectionable.

Do you all remember when we were told it was just about "tolerance?" We were told that we were silly when we asked questions like these. We were told "It is none of your business and it's not like anybody is FORCING you to do anything you object to." It seems that yet again, "tolerance" is a one way street.
If this offends you, don't eat at Tastries. But if you want to take the force of government and compel this baker to break her moral code, then you are not "tolerant." You are a bully.

Pitbullll

Bingo. The self-described "tolerant, inclusive and diverse" crowd is nothing of the sort. Anyone who does not fall in line to their groupthink of the moment must be destroyed.

rsbell

“We are happy to make birthday cakes and cupcakes and cookies and brownies for everyone. We want to celebrate each individual regardless."

I guess “everyone” doesn’t mean everyone.

Peter Roth

Conservatives eat this kind of stuff up.

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