A Charlotte farmer is suing the city of East Lansing for excluding him from the city’s farmers market because of his views on marriage.
The federal lawsuit was filed today by lawyers with Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that advocates for religious freedom.
Steve Tennes, owner of Country Mill farms in Charlotte, said he won't be allowed to sell at the East Lansing farmers market this year because of Facebook posts in which he expressed his belief that marriage is between a man and woman.
The post addressed Tennes' decision last year to refer same-sex couples searching for a wedding venue elsewhere.
An East Lansing policy, according to a statement, requires vendors at the farmers market to comply with the city’s human relations ordinance regarding discrimination.
The city excluded Tennes from the 2017 farmers market for violating that policy, according to the lawsuit.
East Lansing Mayor Mark Meadows said the city's policy applies to Tennes not because of his individual beliefs or Facebook posts, but because of his "business decision" to exclude same-sex couples from holding wedding ceremonies at the farm.
"This is about them operating a business that discriminates against LGBT individuals and that’s a whole different issue," Meadows said.
The market opens Sunday and runs each Sunday through October.