[UPDATE] Fate of banned farmer decided in religious liberty case

We recently reported about a family farm from Lansing, Michigan, banned by the city from participating in the town farmer’s market after it was discovered they did not allow same-sex marriages on their property.

Obviously this is a serious violation of a person’s freedom of religion, but we’ve seen many cases of this sort over the last few years, particularly concerning Christian bakers who refused to make cakes for homosexual weddings. Many of these businesses had to temporarily — and in some cases, permanently — close their doors.

The city of Lansing discovered the farm’s views on the topic after spotting Country Mill Farms owner Steve Tennes’ Facebook post about the topic, and responded with the ban, stating the post violated the city’s anti-discrimination ordinance.

Tennes then sued East Lansing for religious discrimination. His farm, which is 120 acres, is a popular wedding spot in the area.

According to The Blaze:

U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney granted an injunction to Tennes, saying the city likely violated his religious and free speech rights, the Associated Press reported.

Maloney said East Lansing changed its rules to require vendors to comply with the city’s civil rights ordinance after learning of Tennes’ views, the AP added.

“The context in which the vendor guidelines were amended and then applied to Country Mill supports plaintiffs’ claim that their religious beliefs or their religiously motivated conduct was the target of the city’s actions,” Maloney said, the AP reported.

The judge ordered East Lansing to open the market to Tennes through October, the end of the season, while his lawsuit proceeds, the AP added.

The Tennes Family was back at the market this weekend — along with a protester.

The lone protester’s sign read: “Boycott Country Mill…they practice hate and bigotry.”

City officials said they are disappointed with the ruling and are thinking of filing a stay and an appeal.

Religious liberty grants all American citizens the right to voice their opinions and live out their belief system free of the fear of the government attempting to muzzle them and force them to go against their strongly held faith.

East Lansing clearly violated the First Amendment here and the judge who ruled in favor of Tennes was absolutely correct in his judgment on the matter.

Let’s hope there are more victories for religious liberties across the country.

[Note: This article was written by Michael Cantrell. Follow him on Twitter @MCantrell0928 and on Facebook]


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