Country Mill Farms was banned from their local farmer’s market because of their belief in traditional marriage.
The incident started after Michigan farmer Steve Tennes stated on the farm’s Facebook page that they will not host any same-sex marriage at their farm due to their religious views. Since then, their farm has faced extreme backlash from the community.
The city decided to deny them a spot at the farmer’s market due to their “non-discrimination policy”.
“We were surprised and we were shocked. My wife and I both volunteered to serve in the military – to protect freedom now we come home and the freedom that we worked to protect – we have to defend in our own backyard,” Tennes said in a statement.
“Whether you are a Jew, Muslim or Christian – people of faith should not be eradicated from the marketplace simply because they don’t share the same thoughts and ideas that the government is choosing to promote,” he added.
For a time, Country Mill Farm stopped hosting weddings altogether, but the officials still weren’t satisfied. The city’s attorney said, “This is not about speech and it’s not about religion. It’s about discrimination.”
To Tennes, it’s about much more:
“Government officials should never be allowed to ban citizens from participating in any aspect of public life simply because that person said something the city doesn’t like. The city of East Lansing is asking us to choose between the peaceful expression of our beliefs and our livelihood. No one should face that choice.”
In response to the alleged violation of the discrimination ordinance, the Alliance Defending Freedom also filed a federal lawsuit claiming that the East Lansing had violated the constitutional rights of the Tennes family.
ADF Legal Counsel Kate Anderson said the following statement in defense:
“All Steve wants to do is sell his food to anyone who wants to buy it, but the city isn’t letting him. People of faith, like the Tennes family, should be free to live and work according to their deeply held beliefs without fear of losing their livelihood. If the government can shut down a family farmer just because of the religious views he expresses on Facebook—by denying him a license to do business and serve fresh produce to all people—then no American is free.”
Government officials should never be allowed to ban a citizen from participating in any aspect of public life simply because that person said something the city doesn’t like.
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