Minnesota AG takes Christian videographers to federal court

Carl and Angel Larsen in St. Cloud, Minn., in 2016. The videographers said they founded their media production company to “magnify Christ like a telescope.” CreditCreditDave Schwarz/St. Cloud Times, via Associated Press

The Attorney General of Minnesota, Keith Ellison and Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero have announced their intention to fight a St. Cloud videography LGBTQ discrimination case in federal court instead of appealing the ruling of an 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in Minnesota Supreme Court.

The case is against Telescope Media, a company that wants to enter the wedding video business but will only offer its services to straight couples. According to the AG’s office, denying this service to same-sex couples violates the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

Ellison and Lucero issued a joint statement saying, “Telescope [Media] wants to breach common decency on the grounds of ‘free speech.’ But their right to believe what they want is already fully protected. What they’re asking for is a license to discriminate against LGBTQ folks that could open up a can of worms for everyone.”

The senior counsel representing Telescope Media, Jeremy Tedesco of Alliance for Defending Freedom, issued the following statement on behalf of the company:

“Carl and Angel won a great free speech victory at the 8th Circuit, which rightly affirmed that the government has no power to force people to express messages that violate their deepest convictions.

“This principle protects everyone. It means the state can’t threaten the Larsens with jail time for declining to create a film promoting a view of marriage that violates their religious beliefs. It also prevents the government from forcing an atheist musician to perform at an evangelical church service or a Democratic speech writer to write speeches for a Republican.

“After the Larsens won at the 8th Circuit, the Minnesota attorney general agreed to an order from the court preventing it from enforcing the law against the Larsens while the case proceeds. Carl and Angel are pleased that they will soon be able to enter the marriage industry and produce films that are consistent with their beliefs.

We look forward to securing a final victory that prevents the state from using its power to banish people of faith from the public square.”


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