The Michigan farmer who sued the city of East Lansing after he was excluded from the farmer’s market for his views on same-sex marriage will be back this weekend for his first full season in two years. But Steve Tennes, the owner of The Country Mill, wants to make his booth a permanent fixture at the farmer’s market.
According to the Lansing State Journal, Tennes is planning on seeking a permanent injunction this fall from a federal district court judge so he can stay at the market as long as he wishes. Alliance Defending Freedom, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based non-profit that advocates for religious freedom, is representing Tennes and paying for his legal fees.
A devout Catholic, Tennes and Alliance Defending Freedom, filed a federal lawsuit in 2017 seeking reinstatement. After selling produce at the city’s farmer’s market for the past seven years, Tennes said he was prohibited from selling after his business refused to host a same-sex couple’s wedding at its orchard in Charlotte. A federal court in Tennes’ favor requiring the city to allow Country Mill farm a spot at the farmers market for the rest of the 2017 season.
As the East Lansing Mayor points out the judge’s temporary injunction issued against the city last fall only covered the 2017 market season. However The Country Mill is one of 34 vendors included in the 2018 East Lansing Farmer’s Market Lineup.
The market draws a crowd of more than 1,000 visitors to Valley Court Park each week to shop for farm-grown Michigan produce and products. As a growers-only market, ELFM vendors are required to grow their own produce and/or make their own products.