Thursday, June 01, 2017

Bad Apple Sues East Lansing Because He Can't Discriminate Against LGBT Residents With Impunity

The farmer doth (re)produce too much, methinks

The lengths some people will go to claim victimhood never ceases to amaze me. Meet Steve Tennes, the owner of Country Mill Farms in East Lansing, Mich. This finicky farmer is suing the city because it rejected his application to the local farmers market because of his publicly stated refusal to host gay weddings on his farm in a nearby town. 

“Being a Christian, Jew or a Muslim farmer should not disqualify you from selling your produce,” said Tennes, who filed the lawsuit on Wednesday. “The government should not eradicate people of faith from the marketplace.” (Huh?)

In response to the lawsuit, The Wall Street Journal reports that the city of East Lansing issued a statement, saying that Country Mill Farms’ policy -- not Mr. Tennes’s speech -- violated the city’s civil rights ordinances. “The Country Mill has advertised that their business practice is to prohibit same-sex couples from holding weddings at their orchard,” the statement said. “Their business practices violate the City of East Lansing’s longstanding ordinance that protects sexual orientation.”

Stephanie White, executive director of Equality Michigan, was having none of Tennes's whining and persecution complex. White told the Journal it is LGBT people, not religious conservatives, who deal with discrimination in Michigan, where gay and transgender people are not protected by the state’s civil rights act.

She said her organization fields a dozen calls every month from people who have been kicked out of restaurants, denied housing or refused services for their weddings because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

This week, several lawmakers introduced a bill to add protections for LGBT people to the state’s civil rights act, though it is unlikely to pass, with the legislature controlled by Republicans.

“I absolutely want businesses and cities and everyone to stand up against discrimination,” Ms. White said of the East Lansing policy. “This is not a one-off incident. This is a pervasive statewide problem.”

Making this lawsuit more notable than others is that Tennes never refused to sell to LGBT customers at the farmers market -- so it poses the question of whether a city can exclude someone because of his/her company's policies elsewhere.

What these "religious persecution" types don't seem to get is that doing business with people isn't "condoning" everything about their patrons. They don't know -- and certainly do not question -- customers about whether they are nail biters, nose pickers, smokers, drinkers, hoarders or anything else they may disapprove of before they do business with them, so why must they condone what LGBT do before they can do business with them? (And we could take this a big leap forward and ask why merchants don't insist on criminal background checks on customers before agreeing to serve them. Is this farmer condoning rape or incest if he marries someone on his farm who's committed either?) Furthermore, what if my religious view is that Michigan farmers are not human beings or Appalachian couples are an abomination? Should the government allow me to refuse service to these groups because of my so-called belief? I sure hope everyone agrees the answer is no.


jaragon said...

They look like the children of the corn

Claude Remains said...

It drives me mad when people use religion as an excuse for bigotry!!

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