Farmer sues city of East Lansing for violating his First Amendment rights. These sort of civil rights law suits do allow for individual liability, and mandate the recovery of attorneys' fees from all offending parties, so the taxpayers of East Lansing ought to be pissed about their leaders exposing them to the latter: as for individual liability, I'm sure the taxpayers will be inclined to let them rot in hell.
Steve [Tennes] owns and operates Country Mill Farms, an organic apple farm located 22 miles outside of East Lansing in Charlotte, Michigan. Since 2010, his farm has participated in the East Lansing Farmer’s Market. While at the market, Country Mill has always complied with East Lansing laws, including its “Human Relations” law that makes it illegal for public accommodations to discriminate based on sexual orientation and other classifications and to publish any statement indicating someone is unacceptable because of these classifications.
As a Catholic taught to treat everyone with dignity and respect, Steve has gladly served and sold apples to all comers, regardless of their sexual orientation. Steve doesn’t discriminate. Okay, so what’s the problem then? Well, in 2016, Steve posted on the Country Mill Facebook page about his Catholic belief that marriage should be between one man and one woman and that his farm could only host weddings consistent with his faith.
Well, that did it. Normal rules go out the window when that subject comes up. Although his decision violated no law in Charlotte, it did violate East Lansing’s orthodoxy on that issue. After hearing about Steve’s beliefs, East Lansing officials expelled Steve, telling him that Country Mill could no longer participate in the Farmer’s Market. When Steve asked why, the officials responded that County Mill’s “general business practices” outside the city had violated East Lansing’s “anti-discrimination” law. As proof of his wrongdoing, officials pointed Steve to his Facebook post that explained his religious beliefs.
So let’s be clear here. Steve violated no law in Charlotte where he lives and works. He violated no state law. He violated no federal law. In fact, he violated no East Lansing Law. Whether in East Lansing or outside it, Steve sells his apples to anyone. And whether in East Lansing or outside it, Steve has the First Amendment freedom not to promote events that violate his conscience. But when Steve posted his religious beliefs on Facebook from 22 miles outside of East Lansing, the city excluded Steve’s farm from doing business within East Lansing.
East Lansing's ruling officials enacted its ordinance specifically to bar Country Mill Farm from selling produce within the city's borders. They presumably claim the same power to bar citizens of the other 55 states from conducting commerce in the city, should someone out there express an opinion different from that approved by city leaders. This should be a slam dunk, but I hope his lawyers run up huge fees and hit these people, hard: time to stop these people, and I mean like-minded SJWs across the country, now. In fact, if I were Trump, I'd direct my AG to prosecute them for criminal violation of individuals' civil rights — hey, Obama did it.
(If you're curious, the complaint filed in court is here).