City Bans Michigan Farmer from Market for Refusing to Host Gay Wedding

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Stephen Tennes, a Michigan orchard and farm owner, has filed a lawsuit against the city of East Lansing for refusing to permit him to sell his fruits and vegetables at a city-sponsored farm market.

What was his crime? He refused to host a same-sex wedding at his orchard and posted on his Facebook page “his Catholic belief that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman.”

His refusal to host a gay wedding took place in Charlotte, Mich., far away from East Lansing’s jurisdiction. But according to Tennes, the city leaders decided their anti-discrimination policy required excluding him from the market.

He should win his lawsuit. He has never discriminated in the selling of fruit. In fact, he insists his faith “informs us how to treat all who come to our farm and the farmers market with dignity and decency … serving customers of many races, religions, cultures and those who identify with the LBGT community.”

If the facts are as he states, he should win his lawsuit and his right to peddle fruit to all. But it is an extraordinary example of the spirit of hatred now abroad. The misuse of government power to punish gay marriage dissenters is shocking.


Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a senior fellow at the American Principles Project.