City wrong to block farmer from local market
A farmer in Michigan has won a court battle against the city of East Lansing which had denied him the right to sell his vegetables at a local farmer’s market because of his biblical views on marriage.
City officials developed a new vendor’s rule after Steve Tennes of Country Mill Farms posted on his Facebook page that he believes in the biblical view of marriage of being only between a man and a woman. In addition, he had not allowed his farm – a popular wedding spot – to be used to host same-sex “weddings,” a stance the city said violated its civil rights ordinance.
Tennes was represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom legal firm. His lawyer, Kate Anderson, says “just like all Americans, a farmer should be free to live and speak according to his deeply held religious beliefs without fear of government punishment.”
The attorney says the court found that East Lansing officials changed their market policy to shut out Tennes because they don’t like his Catholic beliefs regarding marriage. Anderson says the court was right to issue this order, which now will allow Tennes and his family to return to selling his produce at the 2017 farmer’s market while his case moves forward.