An activist Democratic judge in Minnesota has ruled that an LGBT mandate trumps the religious rights protections guaranteed to Americans under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Appointed back in 1995 by former President Bill Clinton, federal judge John Tunheim continued his long string of pro-LGBT activism for the Democratic Party on Wednesday by ordering two Christian videographers, Carl and Angel Larsen, to use their filmmaking talents – through their company, Telescope Media Group – to promote same-sex marriage. This promotion of the LGBT lifestyle must take place if the Christian couple produces films that celebrate the biblical construct of marriage as only between one man and one woman.
Twisting the law
Tunheim made what many Christians and other conservatives consider an outrageous claim when he equated a biblical view on sexuality to racism – in an attempt to make the case a civil rights issue – but a challenge is already under way.
“Their lawyers announced immediately they will appeal the decision by Tunheim, who charged in his opinion that the Larsens’ faith-based objection to creating videos promoting same-sex relationships is ‘akin to a ‘White Applicants Only’ sign,’” WND reported. “The ruling came in a case the Larsens brought against state officials over their enforcement of the Human Rights Act, which bars discrimination in the workplace on the basis of ‘sexual orientation.’”
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco pointed out the one-sidedness of the decision.
“Tolerance is a two-way street,” Tedesco argued, according to WND. “Creative professionals who engage in the expression of ideas shouldn’t be threatened with fines and jail simply for having a particular point of view about marriage that the government may not favor. Public officials can’t censor filmmakers or demand that they tell stories in film that violate their deepest convictions.”
He said forcing one’s opinions on others and silencing those who hold different views violates the rights guaranteed to Americans by the Constitution.
“[People] should have the freedom to disagree on critical matters of conscience, which is why everyone, regardless of their view of marriage, can support the Larsens,” the legal expert insisted. “The same government that can force them to violate their faith and conscience can force any one of us to do the same. That’s why we plan to appeal this ruling to the 8th Circuit.”
The LGBT agenda has found a bastion in the Gopher State, where activists have effectively pushed the ideology that gives being a self-proclaimed member of the LGBT the same weight as belonging to a particular ethnic group.
”ADF noted Minnesota Department of Human Rights officials have repeatedly stated that private businesses such as the Larsens’ violate the law if they decline to create expression promoting same-sex weddings,” WND’s Bob Unruh recounted. “Penalties for violation include payment of a civil penalty to the state; triple compensatory damages; punitive damages of up to $25,000; a criminal penalty of up to $1,000; and up to 90 days in jail.”
It is anticipated that the pro-LGBT spin on the law will meet its opposition in the courtroom.
“The judge, however, claimed the anti-discrimination law is ‘neutral,’ so the filmmakers must abide by the state’s mandate,” Unruh noted. “The ruling may not have a long shelf life.”
Honoring God, not the LGBT community
The Larsens remain adamant that their livelihood is dedicated to one purpose that cannot be altered.
“[Our business] exists to tell great stories that honor God,” the couple declared in a statement attained by ADF. [We are expanding into wedding video services to] reanimate the hearts and minds of people about the goodness of marriage between a man and a woman.”
Yet this vision is prohibited by Judge Tunheim and the state of Minnesota, who insist that the couple’s faith must bow down to the state’s pro-LGBT definition of marriage that includes homosexual relationships – running in direct opposition to the Bible’s one man, one woman definition.
“The law bars discrimination on a whole bunch of different categories, and the state has added sexual orientation to the law,” Tedesco informed, according to WND. “But [the state] has also announced that it interprets the law to require people in the wedding industry to promote concepts of marriage, including same-sex marriage, that they disagree with, even if that violate their religious beliefs. The state has put that on official websites. They’ve announced that in various different places. They’ve basically put people on notice. They’re looking out for faithful Christians in the wedding industry, and they’re going to prosecute them if they act in a manner that’s consistent with their beliefs when it comes to marriage.”
The Scottsdale, Arizona-based attorney stressed the coercive nature of the problematic ruling in the case that is being challenged.
“No one in their right mind – when 90 days in jail is on the line and the state is saying the exercise of your First Amendment rights could wind you up in jail – is going to exercise their rights,” Tedesco stressed. “They chilled their expression. They go to court to try to get a judgment from the court before that even happens. Rather than take that risk, Carl and Angel filed a lawsuit to try to get the court to say that it was unlawful for the state to even apply the law to force them to say things they don’t want to say through their films.”
According to the attorney specializing in constitutional rights, the First Amendment is being blatantly violated by the Minnesota Human Rights Act.
“These kind of pre-enforcement challenges are something that’s been used for years in the civil rights context,” Tedesco concluded.
Confusing ‘LGBT rights’ with civil rights
It is contended that current tide that continues to erode religious liberty in America was started by former President Barack Obama, who insisted that the U.S. was never a “Christian nation” – despite the fact that 97 percent of its Founding Fathers were Christian.
“During the last year of Obama’s administration, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) under his direction lamented how many restrictions there were on the government’s ability to restrict the impact of religious beliefs.
This concern was expressed in a report published by the government agency, with the first 306 pages written as a “letter of transmittal” to Obama.
“Religious exemptions to the protections of civil rights based upon classifications such as race, color, national origin, sex, disability status, sexual orientation, and gender identity, when they are permissible, significantly infringe upon these civil rights,” reads an excerpt of the letter in the USCCR report titled, “Peaceful Coexistence: Reconciling Nondiscrimination Principles with Civil Liberties.” “[The fault lies with the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, which] constricts the ability of government actors to curtail private citizens’ rights to the protections of nondiscrimination laws and policies.”
A warning about the LGBT’s Constitution-crushing, so-called nondiscrimination laws was then given to Obama.
“Although the First Amendment’s Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act … limit the ability of government actors to impede individuals from practicing their religious beliefs, religious exemptions from nondiscrimination laws and policies must be weighed carefully and defined narrowly on a fact-specific basis,” the letter pointed out to the former president.
Copyright American Family News. Reprinted with permission.