California bakery facing backlash after refusing to make wedding cakes for same-sex couples

A California bakery owner is stirring up controversy for reportedly refusing to make a wedding cake for two different same-sex couples because it conflicts with her Christian beliefs.

Both couples later took to Facebook to complain about their experiences at Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield.

In a post that has since been removed, Eileen Del Rio explained that she and her fiancée went into the bakery for a tasting, but when owner Cathy Miller realized the customers were two women, she referred them to another bakery, reports New York Daily News.

"She don't condone same sex marriages so [she] refused to make our wedding cake," the post read.

In a separate Facebook post on Saturday, Ted Freitas detailed a similar situation he encountered at Tastries when he, his fiancé Adam Ramos, and Ramos’ mother were cake shopping.

Freitas wrote that when Miller found out the cake was for a same-sex couple, “she stands up, walks away, and calls [the owner of competing bakery Gimme Some Sugar Cakes] to ‘transfer’ us (I think she meant to say REFUSE SERVICE to us) and refer us for an appointment.”

Miller told KGET she’s had the policy of referring same-sex couples to her competitor for years. "That's what we've been doing for five years. I'm really hurt by this. I don't think we should be picked on because of our beliefs," she said.

In an interview with KERO, Miller said "Here at Tastries, we love everyone. My husband and I are Christians and we know that God created everyone and He created everyone equal so it's not that we don't like people of certain groups, there is just certain things that violate my conscience." 

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"A ceremony, when you're getting married is in the eyes of the Lord, OK, and that's a celebration of a union that God has brought together and that's a whole lot different then coming in and wanting a cookie," Miller told KGET.

It’s not immediately clear if Miller has the right to deny service because of religious beliefs, or if she’s breaking the law by refusing to serve people on the grounds of sexual orientation.

In California, according to AXIS Legal Counsel, “public accommodations and business establishments such as bars, restaurants and retail stores are prohibited from discriminating against gay, lesbian and bisexual people under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. However, sexual orientation is not one of the protected characteristics listed under the state’s Business and Professions Code section 125.6, which applies to individuals and licenses to render services."

AXIS continues: "A business owner’s right to decline service often depends on whether the business is considered one that requires licensure to provide services, or whether it operates as a public business establishment.”

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The debate over whether religious beliefs give someone the right to discriminate has been going on for years and will soon be argued in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

The case involves the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, who was sued after refusing to make a cake for a gay couple’s civil union in 2012. The state courts ruled against the bakery owner, but the high court could soon decide whether business owners are allowed to cite their religious views as reasons for refusing service to gay and lesbian couples.