A judge has ruled in favour of a baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because it violated her Christian beliefs.
The California judge ruled in favor of bakery owner Cathy Miller after the state Department of Fair Housing and Employment sued Tastries Bakery in Bakersfield. They argued that Miller had intentionally discriminated against the couple, in violation of California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act.
However, Miller's attorneys argued that any suggestion she had discriminated against the couple was outweighed by a right to free speech and free expression of religion.
Kern County Superior Court Judge Eric Bradshaw ruled Friday that Miller acted lawfully while upholding her marriage beliefs.
'She told Bakersfield Californian: "I'm hoping that in our community we can grow together, and we should understand that we shouldn't push any agenda against anyone else."
According to Miller and her attorneys - who worked on a pro-bono basis - the ruling is a victory for those who believe in the First Amendment of the United States, which states that lawmakers must protect both freedom of speech and the establishment of religion.
Authorities are still deciding what to do next, in the wake of the verdict.
The couple that Miller refused to bake a cake for were Eileen and Mireya Rodriguez-Del Rio.
After Miller was sued in 2017, the state's Department of Fair Employment and Housing asked the court to file a restraining order against Miller and her bakery, forcing the company to either bake same-sex wedding cakes or stop baking cakes altogether.
Miller said at the time said: "My conscience doesn't allow me to participate in certain activities that are contrary to my biblical beliefs. I pray that we can all come to an understanding so that we can continue to get along,"