Faithful readers of this blog will recall this case:
A Catholic family is encountering anti-Catholic bigotry by a local government and as far as I know, none of our Bishops are saying bupkis about it:
A Catholic organic farmer is suing the city of East Lansing for booting his business from the farmers’ market over his belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.
Steve Tennes of Country Mill Farms has sold fruit and vegetables at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market for the past seven years. After city officials learned of his belief that marriage is a man-woman union, they bypassed jurisdictional limits under Michigan law to craft a policy to exclude him from being able to sell at the farmers’ market.
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is defending Tennes.
The trouble for Tennes began when he posted on the Country Mill Farms’ Facebook page about his belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. City officials reacted to the August 24, 2016 post by telling Tennes they didn’t want his farm at the next scheduled market the following Sunday. They said they’d received complaints over the Facebook post and there would be protests if Country Mill Farms was there selling produce.
Tennes didn’t back down, and participated in the market as he always had. No one showed up to protest.
Then, in December 2016, Tennes again posted about his beliefs on Facebook.
East Lansing’s Human Relations Ordinance makes “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” protected classes.
Country Mill Farms is in Charlotte, 22 miles outside of East Lansing. It’s not in East Lansing’s jurisdiction.
So, city officials created a new policy that all vendors must comply with East Lansing’s nondiscrimination laws not just while they are at the Farmer’s Market but in all of their general business practices.
Tennes sells fruit and vegetables to anyone. He says he employs people who identify as part of the “LGBT community.” But the city doesn’t want him participating in the farmers’ market unless he will agree to host same-sex “weddings” on his orchard.
East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows told the Lansing State Journal that because the Tennes family won’t host same-sex “weddings” on their farm in a different jurisdiction, they’re ineligible to participate in the farmers’ market.
“This is about them operating a business that discriminates against LGBT individuals,” not the Facebook posts, he said, “and that’s a whole different issue.”
Country Mill Farms declined to host a same-sex ceremony in 2014, before the Supreme Court imposed same-sex “marriage” on all 50 states. It referred the two lesbians who sought to use its property to another venue without moral objections.
Go here to read about it. Incredibly, the attorney representing East Lansing has been put up by the Trump administration for a Federal judgeship:
East Lansing was represented by a guy named Michael Bogren, who is a partner in a law firm hired by the city to defend it. And defend it he did. He pointedly compared Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage to the KKK using the Bible to justify opposition to interracial marriage.
Bogren countered that the message the city is sending is “discriminators need not apply.”
“This is not about speech and it’s not about religion,” the city’s attorney told the judge. “It’s about discrimination.”
Bogren expressed frustration with Anderson’s insistence that Tennes’ refusal to hold same sex weddings was not discrimination.
“The fact that the plaintiff says, ‘My religion compels me,’ does not protect him,” Bogren said. “There’s a difference between belief and act.”
That last utterance is straight from the Barack Obama “Freedom of worship” playbook. That is, you are welcome to believe whatever you wish but if you try to live it, well, there’s going to be a problem.
For reasons that aren’t all that clear, Bogren ended up a Trump nominee to a the federal judgeship for the Western District of Michigan. Bogren is about 20 years older than a typical Trump judge. His views on the First Amendment are clearly out of step with most Republicans. His only saving grace is that both of Michigan’s Democrat senators support him and so, one suspects, that after ramming six judges into the Ninth Circuit in opposition to Democrat senators, someone in the White House decided to make kissy-face.
Someone who didn’t let this go by was freshman senator Josh Hawley. If you want to see a judicial nominee have his own bigotry shoved back in his face, you have to watch this:
Go here to read the rest. Senator Hawley is right, this nomination deserves to go down in flames.