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Catholic Business Owner Wins Lawsuit After Being Banned For Refusing To Host Same-Sex Weddings

via The Daily Signal on Youtube
This article was originally published at StateOfUnion.org. Publications approved for syndication have permission to republish this article, such as Microsoft News, Yahoo News, Newsbreak, UltimateNewswire and others. To learn more about syndication opportunities, visit About Us.

The settlement of a six-year court battle ruled in favor of Stephen Tennes, a Catholic farmer, allowing him to collect $42,000 in damages and $783,800 in legal fees.

The city of East Lansing, Michigan, was ordered not to apply guidelines equating not hosting same-sex weddings with discrimination to Tennes in the future.

The city’s defense costs exceeded $292,000, resulting in a total bill of over $1.1 million. (Trending: Devastating News For Hunter Biden After Defying Subpoena)

Tennes’ farm was initially banned from the farmers market due to his refusal to host same-sex weddings, leading to a legal battle.

“When we were faced with the choice of providing for our family like we always had, or walking away from our religious beliefs. And as parents and as veterans, that was a very tough decision to make,” Tennes said.

“But we’re glad that we were able to go forward with this and the court has come out with a strong ruling that helps not just our family, but really people of all backgrounds and beliefs to realize that the government can’t choose to punish some people just because they don’t like their beliefs,” he added.

“Steve and his family-run farm happily serve all customers as a valued vendor at East Lansing’s farmer’s market. The court was right to agree that the First Amendment protects Steve, like every other small business owner, to operate his business according to his faith and convictions,” Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Kate Anderson said.

“We’re pleased to favorably settle this lawsuit on behalf of Steve so he and his family can continue doing what Country Mill does best, as expressed in its mission statement: ‘glorifying God by facilitating family fun on the farm and feeding families,’” she said.

Tennes previously wrote that “we do not participate in the celebration of a same sex union. We have and will continue to respectfully direct wedding inquiries to another mid-Michigan orchard that has more experience hosting same sex weddings.'”

The court ruled that the city’s actions burdened Tennes’ religious beliefs, emphasizing the protection of First Amendment rights for small business owners.

“The City’s decision to exclude Country Mill Farms from the 2017 East Lansing Farmer’s Market constituted a burden on Plaintiffs’ religious beliefs. Plaintiffs were forced to choose between following their religious beliefs and a government benefit for which they were otherwise qualified,” the ruling noted.

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