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You Won't Believe Why This Farmer Was Banned From The Market

A farmer from East Lansing, Michigan, who is Catholic, has been banned from selling fresh produce at the local markets after he announced that he wouldn’t allow same-sex weddings at his property’s wedding venue. The farmer in question, Steve Tennes, had already filed an injunction and plans to dispute the crippling sales ban that has been placed on his business. However, Fox News reports that East Lansing officials are already attempting to disrupt the judicial process and request that Mr. Tennes’ request and lawsuit are dismissed.

From 1974 onwards, the city of East Lansing has upheld LGBT civil rights and has vague legal precedent to pursue action against Mr. Tennes. Unfortunately for Mr. Tennes, East Lansing recently tweaked several non-discrimination clauses in the LGBT act, broadening the ordinance to ensure that residents and non-residents were not able to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples.

When Mr. Tennes found out that his application to be a vendor at East Lansing farmers markets was denied, he had no idea that it was because of an old Facebook post. The post in question was written over a year previously and, according to East Lansing officials, “outlines a business practice” that was in violation of the city’s civil rights ordinances and anti-discrimination laws.  

In his Facebook post, Mr. Tennes specified that his home and business, Tennes’ Country Mill Farms Inc., would only “continue scheduling weddings at its orchard” if the “the ceremonies did not violate Roman Catholic beliefs.” When the subject of the Facebook post was brought to the attention of East Lansing officials, they immediately contacted Mr. Tennes and explained that the post threatened his viability as a businessman in East Lansing. Mr. Tennes chose to continue disallowing same sex marriages on his land and his farmers market application was refused, prompting the local farmer to file a lawsuit against the city.

To fight his legal battle, Mr. Tennes has hired Kate Anderson, a top attorney working for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). Ms. Anderson has filed an injunction to temporarily allow her client to sell organic apples at the East Lansing farmers market. The ADF lawyer is outraged by the personal attack on her client’s beliefs, telling Fox News: “The city created a policy to punish Steve for his religious beliefs. The city is reaching way outside of its jurisdiction…The precedent being laid down here is very, very dangerous.”

Mr. Tennes has denied allegations that he is homophobic, asserting that he is comfortable selling his produce to people who identify as LGBT. The veteran farmer even reports that several of his workers are members of the LGBT community.

In response, the mayor of East Lansing, Mark Meadows, has asserted that religious beliefs are not even relevant to the city’s action against Mr. Tennes, telling Fox News: “It has nothing to do with free speech. Any organization that wants to be a vendor at the market has to comply with all the civil rights ordinances in East Lansing. Tennes’ business wasn’t in compliance with the ordinance and consequently wasn’t granted the opportunity to sell.”

Source: Fox News
Photo: Mediaite

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