Farmer Prevails in Religious Rights Case

( – A federal judge has ruled against a small town in favor of a farmer whose Christian beliefs precluded him from allowing homosexual weddings on his farm. As a consequence of exercising his First Amendment rights, Stephen Tennes was barred from participating in a local farmer’s market by city officials.

The city of East Lansing, Michigan, banned Tennes and his farm, Country Mill Farms, from participating in a local grower’s market in 2017. U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney said that that violated his First Amendment rights based on Supreme Court precedents which stated that the government cannot deny access to a benefit he otherwise qualified for simply for expressing his religious beliefs.

Tennes is a fruit farmer who primarily grows apples and other fruit, he has also had weddings on his property. Maloney’s ruling stated that East Lansing failed to demonstrate “a compelling interest” in preventing Tennes from selling his produce at the market.

The ruling is consistent with expectations, as Maloney had ruled in 2017 that County Mills Farms was allowed to continue to sell at the market while the legal case was ongoing as they were likely to succeed based on the evidence available at the time. Here we are 5 years later with the ruling affirming that expectation.

Lawyers for Tennes celebrated the ruling. He was represented by an organization called the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson said the court was rightly defending Tennes’s right to operate his business based on his religious beliefs. Radical leftists have been weaponizing government and lawsuits to attack Christian conservatives who simply want to live following their beliefs.

Radical homosexual activists have used lawfare to attack family-owned businesses that refuse to comply with their demands for service. The most famous case involved radicals seeking out a bakery in Colorado to make them a gay wedding cake that went all the way to the Supreme Court in 2018 before the baker’s rights were affirmed. Most recently a web design firm was sued for refusing to make a gay wedding website. They won that case as well.

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