Catholic farm family fights Michigan city to stay OUT of gay-wedding business

A city in Michigan is punishing a Catholic farm family because they refuse to allow gay weddings.

The short of it is that this Catholic family was denied entry into the farmers market in East Lansing back in 2016 after the city found out that the Tenneses don’t allow gay marriages on their farm. They had previously been a part of the farmers market for the past 7 years.

Now they are fighting it out in court and hope that the recent victory by Colorado baker Jack Phillips will help them.

Here’s more from the Washington Times:

All Steve and Bridget Tennes want is to sell their apples, peaches and blueberries at a Michigan farmers market without being required to get into the same-sex wedding business, and they are hoping for an assist from Colorado baker Jack Phillips.

The Tenneses, who make their home on the Country Mill Farm with their six children, contend that their Catholic faith has been maligned by East Lansing officials who have sought to bar them from the city’s farmers market over their refusal to host same-sex ceremonies on their property.

That is where Mr. Phillips comes in. It was government animus — in that case, the state of Colorado — toward the Masterpiece Cakeshop owner that swung the Supreme Court’s decision last year in his favor after he refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding. If anything, the hostility displayed by East Lansing officials is worse, said John Bursch, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom.

“In the Masterpiece case, the Supreme Court said unequivocally that when the government is hostile toward religion or religious believers, even when there’s a hint of hostility and animus, then that’s enough to invalidate government action,” said Mr. Bursch, who represents the Michigan farmers.

“Here you have government officials from the mayor to the city manager to the City Council making repeated public remarks that the Catholic views on marriage are ‘ridiculous,’ they’re ‘absurd’ and they should be changed,” he said. “The record is full of statements like that.”

The 3-year-old fight goes before a federal judge Friday in Kalamazoo, Michigan, with Mr. Tennes seeking a permanent order prohibiting the liberal college town from blocking the family’s participation in the popular farmers market.



Of course the mayor claims this has nothing to do with their religious beliefs and rejects the idea that this is religious discrimination.

Here’s the backstory:

The conflict began in 2016 when Country Mill Farm responded to a question on Facebook by saying that the owners did not host same-sex weddings. They cited their “deeply held religious belief that marriage is a union of one man and one woman and Country Mill has the First Amendment right to express and act upon its beliefs.”

Country Mill was invited to the farmers market for seven years, until the city learned of the social media post. Staff reacted by adding a provision to its vendor guidelines stressing compliance with the East Lansing civil rights ordinance. When the farm applied in 2017, its application was rejected.

Mr. Tennes took the city to court and won a temporary injunction on behalf of Country Mill, which is located in Charlotte, about 22 miles from East Lansing.

Steve and Bridget Tennes are military veterans who “volunteered to serve our country and defend the rights that we have here such as freedom of religion and freedom of speech,” he said.

“So it was kind of a shock to have the city government tell us that simply stating our beliefs about marriage on Facebook, 22 miles outside of the city of East Lansing, was enough to get our family barred from the city park where we have been serving everyone without complaint for seven years in a row,” Mr. Tennes said.

Mr. Tennes, a second-generation farmer, and his family live on the 158-acre farm, which includes an orchard, pumpkin patch and cider brewery. They host special events such as weddings, birthday parties, retirement parties, school tours, corn mazes, hay rides and apple-picking days for charity.

Not everything is permitted. “As Christians, there are events on our farm that we’re not able to host, such as bachelor parties, bachelorette parties and, as a family, we decided not to participate in celebrating haunted house attractions,” he said.

I highlighted the fact that they’ve already won an injunction to make sure you saw that. The head to federal court tomorrow seeking a permanent injunction.

The mayor, who says this isn’t about their Catholic faith, claims that the Tennes must host gay weddings on their property or get out of the wedding business completely if they want to continue coming to the farmers market:

Mr. Meadows said the farm would be in compliance as long as it hosted both traditional and same-sex marriages — or neither — and that the family and the farm aren’t the same entity, given that Country Mill is a corporation.

“They have a corporation that decided that as a matter of policy, it wasn’t going to allow corporate property for same-sex marriages,” Mr. Meadows said. “That would be a violation of our ordinance. Since they’re renting space on public property, we didn’t think that it was appropriate to rent space to someone who had a business that obviously discriminated against LGBTQ individuals.”

This mayor is off his rocker. Despite what he says, this is absolutely a case or religious discrimination because their Christian faith is the REASON they refuse to host gay weddings. It’s really that simple and for him to deny it is preposterous.

Hopefully the victory by Phillips will aid the Tennes when they go to court tomorrow. But you never know with so many liberal judges out there. This could be another case that ends up going all the way to the supreme court.

Comment Policy: Please read our comment policy before making a comment. In short, please be respectful of others and do not engage in personal attacks. Otherwise we will revoke your comment privileges.
newest oldest most voted
D Guest
Member
Active Member
D Guest

This is different from customers suing a place for being denied (although that will probably happen to them someday). This is the state refusing to rent to them simply because of an opinion expressed on facebook. I think they can win this case.

And on a side note, Chik-fil-A has a social obligation, in my opinion, to sue every locality that denies them the right to do business. They should think of all the other businesses that suffer similarly, and the fact that if CFA backs down the little guys don’t stand a chance.

Rednca
Member
Member
Rednca

Aren’t there a lot of Muslims in Michigan? These farmers should send the gays to Muslim bakers and farmers to have their weddings in Mosques or Muslim farms!!!

@GHalv
Member
Active Member
@GHalv

The Left’s goal is to CRIMINALIZE Christianity — this is exactly what they want.

Tallboy
Member
Active Member
Tallboy

I wondered if a gay couple would ask a Muslim to marry them and they refuse because of their beliefs, will the mayor say anything about it or would he say leave them alone, they have their belief you have yours go somewhere else like go to a Christians and if they refuse come to me and I will fix your problem and force them to marry you. Bunch of hypocrites.

The_Kat
Member
Active Member
The_Kat

I would think the only leg the city of East Lansing has to stand on is whether the Tennes family discriminates against gay people at the farmer’s market either by refusing to hire someone to work at the market because they are gay or refusing to sell them goods at the market because they are gay. I hope the East Lansing city government ends up with egg all over their faces over this fiasco.

AT
Member
Noble Member
AT

You know, I read this last night and I thought that I had to be too drunk to understand it. Now that it’s morning and I’m just starting to get drunk, I re-read it… and I cannot fathom why anyone thinks they have a right to an activity on someone else’s property.

Hey, you can’t have a gay wedding in my house either! You can have a kegger (BYOB), and you can have a cinco de mayo where we all pound tequila and smack a pinata while wearing sombreros – but, just because I’m OK with parties doesn’t mean you get to host whatever party you want in my living room.

Did you ever see the movie Father of the Bride? One of my all-time favorites. He hosted a wedding reception at his house. Does that mean he’s now obligated to host all gay wedding receptions at his house? FFS.

AT
Member
Noble Member
AT

(Notice how I didn’t even need to bring up my Catholicism to make that argument? Just saying.)

Thor77
Member
Active Member
Thor77

I dont get why someone would want to hold their wedding where they were not wanted to begin with.

On the other hand, I am curious if the farmers would hold a Muslim wedding on their premises.

AT
Member
Noble Member
AT

THEY’D BETTER. I have the ACLU/SPLC on speed dial if they don’t!

Tallboy
Member
Active Member
Tallboy

I don’t think a Muslim would ever go to a Christian for a wedding that would be apostasy and subject to severe punishment of death for offending Allah.

hubman
Member
Trusted Member
hubman

The conflict between SSM and religious freedom is not a bug. It’s a feature.

It was never really about marriage.

Thomas-Aquinas
Member
Noble Member
Thomas-Aquinas

Gays just want to be able to visit their loved ones in hospitals. Remember those good old days? And now here we are.

sjmom
Member
Noble Member
sjmom

It surely is religious discrimination. Praying they win their case.

Thomas-Aquinas
Member
Noble Member
Thomas-Aquinas

It’s reality discrimination.

Talitha
Member
Active Member
Talitha

We have a fellow who built a big barn out here to hold weddings in. Apparently it’s a thing. But I live in Oregon, so the guy has to know that he’s going to have to marry anybody to anybody or anything.

pmb88
Member
Active Member
pmb88

What if it was a Muslim family that didn’t do same sex weddings? Would the city go after them?

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

Easy: “Nope.”

trytothink
Member
Noble Member
trytothink

To Leftists, conformity is paramount in society. You must conform to the collective or you must be eliminated from it.

For all their “Coexist” bumper stickers, they don’t act that way.

pmb88
Member
Active Member
pmb88

It reminds me of the Borg from Star Trek. “Resistance is futile. you will be assimilated. “

Dr. Strangelove
Member
Noble Member
Dr. Strangelove

@ttt It’s not enough to accept them, everyone must think the same, like pmb88’s quote.

Mama Bear Patriot
Member
Member
Mama Bear Patriot

Rev. 13:16-17 ….the beast….causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name.

We can definitely see the signs that we are headed in this direction. Christians are being squeezed out of the marketplace at an alarmingly rapid rate, and it is frequently over the refusal to celebrate homosexuality/transgenderism/abortion. The leftists will force us into compliance by destroying our livelihoods – by making it impossible to buy or sell if we refuse to bow down to their gods. We all need to be prepared for the persecution that is coming – or should I say – that is already upon us.

Dayenu
Member
Member
Dayenu

Am I the only one who still hopes and prays that we can overturn Obergefell?

Contemplator
Member
Active Member
Contemplator

“Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.” I Kings 19:18

cleaner
Member
Active Member
cleaner

I despise that these homosexuals think they have to control our thoughts, actions and beliefs! We either get on board with their depravities or else! Mr. Mayor, we know your goal here is to deprive these people and people like them of their ability to make a living to punish them for being “hateful”, so tell me, once you put all God loving people out of business, who’s going to grow your food? Where do you think all that food in the grocery stores come from? The tooth fairy? Your stupidity and lack of forethought are astounding not to mention your marxist, tyrannical ideology would have us all starving to death. Try reading some history about your way of thinking. Educate yourself! Big cities sure do house a lot of very stupid people.

Chow Yun Fatty
Member
Trusted Member
Chow Yun Fatty

A good attorney should cover the bases and ask them if they would host a gay man’s birthday. I’m sure they’d say yes, which would demonstrate that it’s not based on a rumored objection to homosexuals. It’s being forced to take part in a ceremony that is objectionable to their faith.

Texas Chris
Member
Noble Member
Texas Chris

What the family/business does outside city limits is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is that the family/business follow the laws in the city limits. This mayor cannot rule anything outside his realm.

So long as the farmers don’t host weddings at the market, what’s the big deal?

Unless Mr. Mayor is butthurt over his homo wedding not being hosted out to the farm…?

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

Homosexuality is a spreading moral cancer.

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

Yesterday, I was pointing out a commercial to my daughter (I think it was for Booking.com) that showed two lesbians in a hot spring coming together to kiss. In a different commercial, whatever company was advertising, was showing a series of “families” who benefitted from the product or service the company provided. Wedged in between the 1 -2 second “family” shots was two men and a couple of little children. It was obvious that these two men were gay (they were intimately close and touching) and the kids were probably adopted. My daughter was astounded in that she never would have even noticed had I not called it out. And that was at least two commercials in one 5-minute commercial break! My point is that we are being conditioned and even subliminally brainwashed into thinking that homosexuality is common or “normal”. And when we don’t comply, we can be (and… Read more »

Paladin
Member
Noble Member
Paladin

As the LGBT crowd is coming out of the closet, they are pushing people who are against their acts into the closet. I imagine they consider it our “just rewards”. It is sad that we seem to be losing this battle. God will eventually take care of the cancer like He took care of Sodom and Gomorra

Dr. Strangelove
Member
Noble Member
Dr. Strangelove

PaladinPaladin Otherwise He owes Sodom and Gomorra an apology.

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

clapping thumbsup

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

PaladinPaladin

Well said. thumbsup

Chow Yun Fatty
Member
Trusted Member
Chow Yun Fatty

Oh yeah. Commercials are full of stupid white men. Not to mention how many are pushing mixed marriages. I don’t object to them, I’ve dated black, Korean, and Latino women myself, but they’re making it appear as if one out of every three marriages is mixed race. Even in modern cities, it’s not even close to that.

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

Chow Yun FattyChow Yun Fatty

Agreed. I’ve also dated, black, Korean, Filipino, Latino, etc. women and normally, it would bother me. But it is obviously a disproportionate amount of diversity. And I live in the Atlanta area. It’s not as common in the real world as Leftists would have you believe.

I will add that I work for a Fortune 100 company and EVERY piece of material we create with images of people is mandated to contain the broadest diversity possible. The usual formula is: 1 black man, 1 black female, 1 Asian/Hispanic woman and 1 white woman. Adding white males is so yesterday. I once created something that had 3 black women, 1 black male and 1 Hispanic. It was approved. What a weird coincidence huh?

Paladin
Member
Noble Member
Paladin

SentinelSentinel I’ve been noticing this trend for years. What kills me is I have no problem with these things happening IRL, BUT I have a major problem with this Diversity SJW stuff being shoved down my throat with every single show and commercial. It has soured me and causes me to not watch things I would have otherwise enjoyed. I watch to be entertained, not to be preached to or indoctrinated. Of course being a white, Christian, male, I also have a hard time being attacked and told I’m what’s wrong with the world.
On the flip side, there’s nothing like Evil attacking your group to make you realize you must be a force for overall good. Happy thoughts.

trytothink
Member
Noble Member
trytothink

Yep. My younger daughter doesn’t even notice these kinds of things unless I point them out. At that point, she acts like she’s so used to the indoctrination that it doesn’t bother her. It’s hard to get kids to care about going against what they see on TV and the popular culture.

At this point, all I try to do is to point out what is being done and subtly give her reasons to oppose being manipulated by Hollywood and the media.

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

trytothinktrytothink

Kudos to you. My daughter is in college and I fight for her soul with Truth every time she comes home. Gets harder every day.

Paladin
Member
Noble Member
Paladin

SentinelSentinel It’s the one thing I told my sons when they left for college they needed to remember, if nothing else; they were being sent into the Lion’s Den against their faith, and they needed to stay strong, because to lose their faith would be worse than losing their lives. Fortunately, they managed to keep the faith in those years away from home.

Dr. Strangelove
Member
Noble Member
Dr. Strangelove

There is a recruitment poster for Swift Trucking that features two hefty, tough looking broads that I see at truck stops. One is black, the other white and one has her hand on the other’s shoulder. I stopped and examined it one day and said, wow, looks like a couple of dykes. (BTW, in the industry the joke is that Swift stands for Sure Wish I Finished Training.)

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

Dr. StrangeloveDr. Strangelove

I’d probably think the same thing. Dykes can drive trucks (and bend steel, and belch, and scratch, and fart, and do other “man stuff” too) can’t they?

idea

Dr. Strangelove
Member
Noble Member
Dr. Strangelove

@Sentinel Some of them even better than me, although they don’t have balls to scratch.

Dukehoopsfan
Member
Active Member
Dukehoopsfan

A while back I had a job which required me to spend a few hours a week with the warehouse manager and the guys who routed trucks for local deliveries. They would receive loads from 20+ carriers every day and they took particular delight in watching drivers from certain companies try to maneuver their rigs.

Dr. Strangelove
Member
Noble Member
Dr. Strangelove

Yeah, some places are pretty tough, especially in cities where the docks were built when trailers were still 48′. I have a couple regular stops that are challenging, even after dozens of times.

SheerPolitics
Member
Noble Member
SheerPolitics

Yes, I’ve been seeing it more and more. Like you said short shots where they slip in two guys sitting on a couch joking with one his arm around another. Children’s breakfast cereal featuring an androgynous child, rainbows and a unicorn. (And no, it’s not innocent.)

You’re totally right about them trying to subliminally conditioned us and our children!

I don’t think it will ever be “as it used to be” until Jesus returns. We have already slid down that slippery slope too far.

Dukehoopsfan
Member
Active Member
Dukehoopsfan

The constant efforts in the TV commercials to “define deviancy down” (props to Dr. Thomas Sowell) are featured as normal in seemingly every message.

D Guest
Member
Active Member
D Guest

The corporations don’t even care anymore – their ideology is more important to them than alienating their customer base. They think their company can ride it out until the brainwashed outnumber the rational.

tinlizzieowner
Member
Active Member
tinlizzieowner

None of this has anything to do with “Gay Marriage” and everything to do with the mandatory subjugation of long held Christian beliefs.

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

tinlizzieownertinlizzieowner

You are ABSOLUTELY right. Good summation of the problem.

Dayenu
Member
Member
Dayenu

Oh, it has everything to do with gay marriage. This is the REAL purpose of gay marriage. Not title transfer and hospital visitation. Civil Unions would have been enough for that.

tinlizzieowner
Member
Active Member
tinlizzieowner

You notice that you never hear about ‘Gays’ trying to avail themselves of Muslim services?
The Muslims just tell them to ‘go get fu*^ed’ and go about their business and I don’t remember ever hearing of a Homosexual law suit against a Muslim business?
This has everything to do with forcing Christians to ‘accept’ Homosexuality as ‘normal’. It’s as plain as day even to the eyes of this Agnostic (me).

D Guest
Member
Active Member
D Guest

They are too scared to fight the muslims yet. In the end, if nothing changes, it will come down to a war of the leftist-atheists vs the muslims. Both sides think they can win.

Squirrelly
Member
Noble Member
Squirrelly

It’s never enough until someone else’s life and rights are trampled on and even then, it’s just not enough for some people. They want complete and total capitulation, especially from Christians.

Sentinel
Member
Noble Member
Sentinel

SquirrellySquirrelly

I’d even suggest that they go out of their way to locate and attack those who’s faith clashes with their homosexual agenda – well, unless the “faith” target is muslim.

Squirrelly
Member
Noble Member
Squirrelly

I think so too. Before I ever saw this article last night, I was talking with my husband about this exact thing. He never thought about why they wanted marriage rather than just civil unions to get the government benefits. Marriage is a religious rite. I think many LGBTQ people haven’t thought about this. I have friends who aren’t like this. They just wanted their relationships to be recognized by the government for those same spousal benefits we get. Damn government.

D Guest
Member
Active Member
D Guest

It’s more than a homosexual agenda, it’s a totalitarian agenda. The gay aspect is just a tool.

Voice of Reason
Member
Active Member
Voice of Reason

I hate to say this, but I honestly believe it’s going to take a judgement from God on this world to help people get their priorities straight (no pun intended).

FrPaul
Member
Active Member
FrPaul

It says in Revelations:

“And men were scorched with a great burning heat, and blasphemed the name of God, the One having authority over these plagues; and they repented not to give Him glory.” [Rev. 16:9]

Texas Chris
Member
Noble Member
Texas Chris

It will, He will, and most won’t.

AirForceVet98
Member
Trusted Member
AirForceVet98

It’s private property. If gay people can do this to this family, then I can do what ever I deem is “fair & just” with anyone’s property.

kong1967
Member
Noble Member
kong1967

It’s their farm. They should be able to reject anyone they want for any reason. If people don’t like it then they can go get married somewhere else. I personally don’t believe you should need a religious reason to not let people use your property to get married. What entitles anyone to get married anywhere?

FrPaul
Member
Active Member
FrPaul

That is right! These people shouldn’t be worried where they can get married, but rather, they should be worried how long it is legal for them to do so.

kong1967
Member
Noble Member
kong1967

FrPaulFrPaul Lol, I like your optimism.

FrPaul
Member
Active Member
FrPaul

Thanks. I like just about everything you write.

kong1967
Member
Noble Member
kong1967

FrPaulFrPaul Wow! Thanks! I wish could say the same but I don’t get around…here…much. I’ll keep an eye out so I can talk to you more.

FrPaul
Member
Active Member
FrPaul

God help them! This is crazy…Democrats just can’t be satisfied with homosexual marriage being legal. We do not see Republican states going after people that do provide for homos, but maybe they should…

kong1967
Member
Noble Member
kong1967

FrPaulFrPaul They aren’t satisfied with anything short of everyone being forced to bow down to their way of thinking and application of their thinking.

Back to Top of Comments