How do you like them legal apples, East Lansing?

Friday, June 1, 2018
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

Country Mill signA farmer's market in Michigan is now including a seller who was banned for his biblical beliefs about marriage and sexuality.

Steve Tennes will set up his booth for the first time in two years at the East Lansing Farmer's Market, where he sells apples and apple cider.

Tennes owns and operates the Country Mill orchard in Charlotte, where he refused to host a same-sex wedding in 2016 and later defended his decision, based on his Catholic faith, in a Facebook post.

The post was noticed by the City of Lansing, however, which contacted Tennes and asked him to voluntarily drop out of the farmer's market, says attorney Kate Anderson of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the organization representing Tennes in his legal fight.

In January of last year, Anderson says East Lansing did not invite Country Mill to come back to the farmer's market so Tennes and wife Bridget filed an application with the market.

"They immediately got a letter back saying that they were prohibited from coming to the market for this year," the ADF attorney tells OneNewsNow.  

In a legal victory, however, Tennes returned to the market last fall for the final weeks of the season but only after winning a preliminary injunction against the city from a federal district court judge.

"Our family has faithfully served everyone in our community from all different backgrounds and beliefs," Tennes said Wednesday in a statement published in the Lansing State Journal. "It is our religious beliefs that teach us to love all of our neighbors and treat them with dignity and respect."

natural marriageMark Meadows, the mayor of East Lansing, is quoted in the same story claiming city government opposed Tennes' "corporate decision making" but didn't oppose his religious beliefs that guide those decisions.

"This doesn't have anything to do with Mr. Tennes," Meadows claimed to the Journal. "This has to do with the business."

Tennes and ADF are expected to return to court in the fall seeking a permanent injunction against the City of East Lansing, the story stated, but Mayor Meadows questioned if that was a necessary action.

Maybe the husband and wife will eventually take their business elsewhere, he said.

"People come and people go," the mayor told the newspaper. 

The story also pointed out that East Lansing's city attorney advised city leaders last year that appealing the preliminary injunction could cost as much as $50,000, when the city government is currently in a financial crisis and had to cut $1 million in spending. 

OneNewsNow contacted Meadows for comment but did not hear back by press time.

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