An apple farmer has filed a lawsuit
against the city of East Lansing, Michigan after he was ousted from
an open air market.
Stephen Tennes' The Country Mill farm in Eaton
County is a popular wedding venue. In a Facebook post in December,
Tennes said that he reserves the right to refuse to host the weddings
of gay and lesbian couples.
“It remains our deeply held religious
belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and
Country Mill has the First Amendment Right to express and act upon
its beliefs,” Tennes wrote. “For this reason, Country Mill
reserves the right to deny a request for services that would require
it to communicate, engage in, or host expression that violates the
owners’ sincerely held religious beliefs and conscience.”
East Lansing said in a statement that
Tennes “can't sell fruit at the market” because he had violated
its civil rights ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based on
Tennes is represented by the
Washington-based Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), which is known for
filing lawsuits in similar cases.
“If the government can shut down a
family farmer just because of the religious views he expressed on
Facebook … then no American is free,” attorney Kate Anderson told