Farmer punished for beliefs readying for court trial

Friday, December 20, 2019
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

U.S. ConstitutionA court battle is moving to a civil trial between a Christian farmer and a Michigan city.

OneNewsNow reported in 2017 that the Tennes family, husband Steve and wife Bridget, won a court battle over the City of East Lansing after the city changed its rules for a farmers market to punish the farm owners over their religious views on marriage.

The non-discrimination rules weren’t part of the farmers market until Tennes shared his personal views on Facebook, and a judge’s ruling allowed him to operate a booth while the case moved forward in court.

Now that day has come.

According to the family’s attorney, Kate Anderson of Alliance Defending Freedom, the court found the new rules “unconstitutionally vague” and ruled on behalf of the Tennes family.

“But then the court decided to send the rest of the case to trial,” she advises. “So we look forward to prove that city officials used that vagueness to then target Steve's religious beliefs."

So the case, Country Mill Farms v. City of East Lansing, remains in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan.

Anderson says the case is really about whether a city can punish Steve Tennes over his religious beliefs.

“The city took these actions against him simply because he stated his religious beliefs,” the ADF attorney says, “and because they don't agree with those beliefs, and that's something that's dangerous for everybody."

Last year, East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows told the Lansing State Journal the case is not about religious beliefs.

“Country Mill is a corporation,” the mayor said. “It is not an individual."

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