A Michigan farmer has been barred from selling his apples at a farmer’s market in Detroit after banning gay weddings on his farm.
Stephen Tennes thought nothing of his decision to ban same-sex weddings from his picturesque Eaton County farm venue, but it came back to bite him in his apple-bottoms when an outdoor market, where he regularly sells his produce, did not invite him to return after hearing of his decision.
The city of East Lansing argued that it requires all vendors to follow its civil rights ordinance, which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation. They felt that he was not complying with that ordinance when he spoke out against same-sex marriage.
In response, Tennes has filed a lawsuit alleging that the city is violating his right to free speech, and his freedom of religion which is guaranteed by the country’s First Amendment.
The city were quick to dispute this take on the situation, by saying that he was not invited back to sell at the market based on his discriminatory actions, as opposed to his personal beliefs.
Since introducing marriage equality nationwide, the US Supreme Court has seen several cases of cake makers, flower-arrangers and venue managers who have refused to cater to same-sex weddings.
It seems as though freedom of religion and anti-discrimination laws are coming head to head.
One thing is certain, though: any farmer that refuses services based on sexual orientation is one bad apple.