The Saint Cloud couple are challenging Minnesota’s Human Rights Act
Film and video company Telescope Media Group, owned by married couple Carl and Angel Larsen, filed a lawsuit in federal court Tuesday against Minnesota’s commissioner of human rights, Kevin Lindsey, and attorney general, Lori Swanson.
The Larsens allege that the state’s laws will lead to them to be punished for refusing to provide video footage services to same-sex couples wishing to marry.
The lawsuits says that the Larsens, ‘Are Christians who believe that God has called them to use their talents and their company to create media productions that honor God.’
It goes on to say that they are ‘deeply concerned that American culture is increasingly turning away from the historic, biblically-orthodox definition of marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman, and that more and more people are accepting the view that same-sex marriage is equivalent to one-man, one-woman marriage.’
It concurs that ‘Minnesota law forces the Larsens to produce videos promoting a conception of marriage that directly contradicts their religious beliefs.’
Their case has the backing of the Christian legal non-profit, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian legal nonprofit organization.
In a statement on its website, ADF said, ‘the Larsens know the power of film — of great story-telling — to change hearts and minds. They want to use their wedding cinematography to reanimate the hearts and minds of people about the goodness of marriage between a man and a woman.’
They have also produced a video explaining the Larsen’s decision for filing the suit.
The lawsuit does not refer to specific incidents where they have refused services, and suggests that the wedding market is one in which the Larsens are looking to further move into.
ADF describes the lawsuit as ‘a pre-enforcement challenge’.
Same-sex marriage has been legal in Minnesota since 2013.
Teresa Nelson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Minnesota, told the Star Tribune, ‘This could open a real wide door to people citing religion in turning away customers they don’t like.
‘It opens the door to a vast array of discrimination … if the court sides with the plaintiffs.’
In a statement, Human Rights Commissioner Lindsey said, ‘this lawsuit is part of a pattern of nationwide litigation that is now aimed at eroding the rights of LGBTQ Minnesotans.’
However, he is confident the lawsuit it will fail and sexual orientation will remain a part of the state’s Human Rights Act.