Steve and Bridget Tennes own the Country Mill, a 120-acre farm in Charlotte, Michigan that is open to the public for fruit picking, wagon rides, and other activities, including weddings — or, at least it was.
Now, thanks to rainbow-wielding brownshirts of the Left, their family not only temporarily gave up hosting weddings, they may be banned from selling their food at a local farmers’ market.
The Daily Signal reports that nine months ago, the Tennes family announced on Facebook that they would cease booking any weddings on their property so as to maintain their religious conviction against participating in same-sex marriages without conflict. They noted that “people of all background and beliefs are always welcomed” at the Country Mill, and thanked readers “for the respectful dialogue.” They resumed weddings in December, but reserved the right to not serve gay unions.
Alas, liberals being liberals, respectful dialogue was too much to hope for:
This drew a warning from an official more than 20 miles away in East Lansing, Michigan, that if Tennes tried to sell his fruit at the city’s farmers market, it could incite protests.
No one showed up to protest that August day last summer, though, and Tennes continued selling organic apples, peaches, cherries, and pumpkins at the seasonal market until October, as he had done the six previous years.
Nevertheless, East Lansing moved earlier this year to ban Tennes’ farm, the Country Mill, from participating in the farmers market when it resumes June 4. The city cited its human relations ordinance, an anti-discrimination law that includes sexual orientation […]
East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows told the Lansing State Journal that the city’s decision to exclude Country Mill—also known as Country Mill Orchard—from the farmers market had nothing to do with religious beliefs, but with the farm’s “business decision” not to host same-sex weddings.
“This is about them operating a business that discriminates against LGBT individuals, and that’s a whole different issue,” Meadows said, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Americans.
Fortunately Steve and Bridget, both military veterans, are fighting back. Represented by the conservative religious liberty firm Alliance Defending Freedom, they are suing the city for religious discrimination.
ADF’s lawsuit, filed this week with the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan, accuses East Lansing of “strip[ping] plaintiffs of their constitutional freedoms, including free speech and the free exercise of religion.” It notes that the Country Mill has never engaged in actual discrimination, i.e., denying employment to someone based on their sexual orientation, and highlights why punishing them for living their Christian faith is unnecessary (on top of being illegal and wrong):
In 2014, two lesbians sought to be married in a wedding ceremony at Country Mill, but Tennes turned them down.
This occurred before the 2015 Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage across the country.
According to his legal complaint, Tennes had a “civil” discussion with the women, and said his venue didn’t host same-sex weddings because of his religious beliefs. But he referred the women to an orchard that held same-sex weddings.
In 2015, the two women were married at another orchard.
In other words, they calmly talked out their differences and everybody got what they wanted in the end. Of course, that didn’t dissuade one of the lesbians from writing “a Facebook post discouraging consumers from doing business with Country Mill.”
Freedom works when we let it. Unfortunately, the liberals and the LGBT mafia don’t want freedom. They want absolute domination.