The East Lansing Farmer's Market will be opening next week.
The manager of the market informed one of their long-standing vendors that the vendor is banned from participating in the Farmer's Market due to the vendors' religious beliefs.
The vendors filed suit in Federal Court based on violation of the their First Amendment rights.
Recent changes to the law redefined marriage. Same-sex couples are now legally able to "marry".
The couple talked it over. They prayed about it. They read the Bible (Gen 18:32, for example) for guidance. They decided that tacit support of "same-sex marriages" is not in alignment with their religious beliefs. The owners of the Country Mill opted to not rent their facility to couples when the stated purpose is "same-sex marriage". They knew that they would be lose revenue but they place values above money.
The GLBT community is very practiced at whipping the media to a frenzy. There was a shit-storm. I wonder if the GLBT community engineered this conflict to keep public attention on their agenda.
Based on the (biased) media coverage, the City of East Lansing determined that the Country Mill was in violation of East Lansing City ordinances. It should be noted that the Country Mill never refused to sell produce to ANYBODY, ever, from their stall in East Lansing. It should also be noted that the Country Mill is 15.8 miles from East Lansing. Essentially, the City of East Lansing decided to punish the Country Mill economically for not "buying in" to the PC dogma.
The Country Mill filed suit. Their point is that the historical interpretation of the First Amendment defends the practice of religion. More recent interpretations claim that that United States citizens can have any opinion they want as long as they do not voice it or practice it are an extreme abridgment of those First Amendment rights. In fact, those recent interpretations make the First Amendment meaningless.
Another nuance in the conflict is that there is no shortage of venues that are willing to host "same-sex marriages". Sincde practicing "same-sex" relations is, to a high degree, a voluntary action it is unlike "discrimination" based on race which is not a choice. Consequently, the Country Mill's owners do not see East Lansing's actions as anything other than political over-reach, religious discrimination, stifling of free-speech and creeping abridgment of private property rights.
It is not just the Country Mill that is being injured. East Lansing's application of this ordinance injures the citizens of East Lansing in three ways.
- Most immediately, it limits the citizens of East Lansing's choices and denies them access to wholesome food grown just west of Potterville, Michigan.
- On a slightly longer time scale East Lansing officials aggressive application of this ordinance is racking up attorney bills on both sides. If East Lansing loses then the citizens of East Lansing are likely to have to pay the bills for both sides.
- In the longest term, the city officials of East Lansing are telling businesses "We will not hesitate to use the litmus test du jour to punish you economically if we decide we don't like you." Is there any city that can afford to discourage business formation?
This is a side issue and a distraction from the larger principles involved, but the progressive left has shown nothing but contempt for the sacrament of marriage EXCEPT when it can be used as a lever to advance the LGBT agenda. Were "the progressive left" a person, they would be remanded for psychiatric treatment due to their schizophrenic behaviors.