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Department of Fair Employment and Housing vs. Cathy’s Creations, dba Tastries Inc.

Case Concerning Public Accommodations Discrimination

Key Date: June 19, 2018
Status: Awaiting Appeal
Legal Team: Freedom of Conscience Fund
Type: Public Accommodations Discrimination

Cathy’s Creations Case Overview:

The case concerns a bakery, Cathy’s Creations (dba Tastries), who refused service to a lesbian couple, with the owner, Cathy Miller, citing her religious beliefs as reason for denial. The couple filed a complaint with the agency that enforces California’s law barring sexual orientation discrimination by businesses, the Department of Fair Employment and Housing, who agreed discrimination had taken place. The case is very similar to the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court case, which was argued on December 5, 2017.

Latest in the Case:

On June 19, 2018, the department dropped its appeal of the previous ruling in favor of the defendant. The couple at the center of the case still plans to appeal on their own.

Case History:

  • August, 2017: Cathy Miller, owner of Tastries Bakery and Cathy’d Creations, refuses to bake a cake for the wedding of a lesbian couple, Mireya and Eileen Rodriguez-Del Rio, citing her religious beliefs as objection.
  • December 15, 2017The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing take up the couple’s case, filing an ex parte application for a temporary restraining order and a motion for a preliminary injunction. Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe rejects the restraining order, but sets a hearing date on the preliminary injunction.
  • February 2, 2018: Judge Lampe holds a hearing to determine whether or not to grant a preliminary injunction against Tastries.
  • February 6, 2018Judge Lampe rules in favor of the defendant, citing First Amendment concerns: “The State cannot succeed on the facts presented as a matter of law. The right to freedom of speech under the First Amendment outweighs the State’s interest in ensuring a freely accessible marketplace.” A full hearing is set for June, but the defendant’s legal team moves to dismiss the case.
  • May 1, 2018Judge Lampe issues final judgment. Plaintiffs plan to appeal.
  • June 19, 2018Following the Supreme Court ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop on June 4, the department drops its appeal, with the defendants’ legal team planning to seek $200,000 in court costs. The couple plans to appeal on their own, with their attorney, Patricia Ziegler-Lopez, telling Equality Case Files: “The U.S. Supreme Court issued a very narrow decision in Masterpiece which stated it was a violation of the Colorado bakery owner Jack Phillips’ freedom to exercise religion. It is not a ruling that allows for discrimination in the name of religion; the ruling focused only on one baker and his religious argument before the Colorado Civil Rights Commission. The ruling actually helped our case and has provided the States the green light to move forward with these types of cases and that is exactly what we intend to do.”

Last Updated July 28, 2018


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