A Federal Court Strikes a Powerful Blow for Free Speech and Religious Freedom

Dec 2014
17,726
6,446
The Milky Way
Yes, exactly what the First Amendment is about.


Earlier today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutional order, limited the reach of expansive nondiscrimination laws, and protected a Christian couple from having to choose between their business and their conscience.

The facts of the case are simple. The plaintiffs, Carl and Angel Larsen, are videographers who create “commercials, short films, and live-event productions.” While they work with anyone of any race, sex, sexual orientation, or religion, they will not produce videos that advance viewpoints that violate their Christian beliefs. That includes videos that “contradict biblical truth; promote sexual immorality; support the destruction of unborn children; promote racism or racial division; incite violence; degrade women; or promote any conception of marriage other than as a lifelong institution between one man and one woman.”

The Larsens hoped to begin producing wedding videos, but Minnesota interpreted its human-rights act to require them to “produce both opposite-sex- and same-sex-wedding videos, or none at all.” Minnesota would also require them to produce videos that depicted “same- and opposite-sex weddings in an equally ‘positive’ light.” This raised the possibility that a gay couple who didn’t like the subjective quality of a video the Larsens produced for them could seek state sanctions based on alleged sexual-orientation discrimination.

With the assistance of my friends and former colleagues at the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Larsens filed suit, claiming that Minnesota’s rule would compel them to speak in support of messages they oppose. The trial court ruled in favor of the state, and the Larsens appealed.

One of the key constitutional questions of our time is whether the First Amendment will retain its supremacy and potency even as nondiscrimination rules and regulations expand in scope and reach. In this case, the Eight Circuit answered answered with an emphatic “Yes,” and it did so through a majority opinion that provided a clear roadmap for future courts and future controversies.

Judge David Stras’s majority opinion begins with a simple, obvious, but crucial conclusion. The Larsens’s wedding videos are a “form of speech that is entitled to First Amendment protection.” Though they don’t make feature films, their wedding videos would still clearly communicate a message in the same way that films do. As the court explained, their wedding videos would be designed to tell “healthy stories of sacrificial love and commitment between a man and a woman” and celebrate the “divinely ordained” marriage covenant.

Moreover, the fact that the Larsens were producing videos for profit did not diminish their constitutional protection. Documentaries make money. Feature films make money. Are they not clearly protected speech? To put it plainly, Minnesota was attempting to engage in one of the most intrusive state actions on the First Amendment. It was attempting to compel the Larsens to deliver a message they opposed.

...



Free Speech & Religious Freedom: Federal Court Upholds Constitutional Order | National Review
 
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Reactions: Macduff
May 2019
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What did expect from "Trump Judge" David Stras’ -- common sense about discrimination?
:cool:


... Judge David Stras, a former Minnesota Supreme Court justice, found that the First Amendment allows the Larsens to choose when to speak and what to say, and that their free speech rights would be violated should their business be penalized under the Minnesota Human Rights Act.

The ruling prompted a sharply worded dissent from Judge Jane Kelly, who described the decision as a "major step backward" in "this country's long and difficult journey to combat all forms of discrimination." ...

... Stras, whom President Donald Trump appointed to the court in 2017 and who remains on the president's shortlist of U.S. Supreme Court justice candidates.

<<....>>

Minnesota Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero, in a statement, defended the state's Human Rights Act as one of the strongest anti-discrimination laws in the country.

"Minnesota is not in the business of creating second-class community members in our state," Lucero said. "Time and again, Minnesotans have chosen love and inclusion in our communities in order to build a state where our laws lift up our beautiful and complex identities, not hold them down."

Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office is representing Lucero in the lawsuit, called the majority decision a "perversion of the First Amendment" and "a shocking reversal of Minnesota's evolution toward equality for LGBTQ people."

"The decision smacks of other dark moments in our nation's history when courts have infamously upheld discrimination," Ellison said.

more here: Federal appeals court rules for St. Cloud couple seeking to deny same-sex wedding film services
 

CtC

Mar 2019
11,978
4,282
California
Yes, exactly what the First Amendment is about.


Earlier today, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the constitutional order, limited the reach of expansive nondiscrimination laws, and protected a Christian couple from having to choose between their business and their conscience.
The facts of the case are simple. The plaintiffs, Carl and Angel Larsen, are videographers who create “commercials, short films, and live-event productions.” While they work with anyone of any race, sex, sexual orientation, or religion, they will not produce videos that advance viewpoints that violate their Christian beliefs. That includes videos that “contradict biblical truth; promote sexual immorality; support the destruction of unborn children; promote racism or racial division; incite violence; degrade women; or promote any conception of marriage other than as a lifelong institution between one man and one woman.”
The Larsens hoped to begin producing wedding videos, but Minnesota interpreted its human-rights act to require them to “produce both opposite-sex- and same-sex-wedding videos, or none at all.” Minnesota would also require them to produce videos that depicted “same- and opposite-sex weddings in an equally ‘positive’ light.” This raised the possibility that a gay couple who didn’t like the subjective quality of a video the Larsens produced for them could seek state sanctions based on alleged sexual-orientation discrimination.
With the assistance of my friends and former colleagues at the Alliance Defending Freedom, the Larsens filed suit, claiming that Minnesota’s rule would compel them to speak in support of messages they oppose. The trial court ruled in favor of the state, and the Larsens appealed.
One of the key constitutional questions of our time is whether the First Amendment will retain its supremacy and potency even as nondiscrimination rules and regulations expand in scope and reach. In this case, the Eight Circuit answered answered with an emphatic “Yes,” and it did so through a majority opinion that provided a clear roadmap for future courts and future controversies.
Judge David Stras’s majority opinion begins with a simple, obvious, but crucial conclusion. The Larsens’s wedding videos are a “form of speech that is entitled to First Amendment protection.” Though they don’t make feature films, their wedding videos would still clearly communicate a message in the same way that films do. As the court explained, their wedding videos would be designed to tell “healthy stories of sacrificial love and commitment between a man and a woman” and celebrate the “divinely ordained” marriage covenant.
Moreover, the fact that the Larsens were producing videos for profit did not diminish their constitutional protection. Documentaries make money. Feature films make money. Are they not clearly protected speech? To put it plainly, Minnesota was attempting to engage in one of the most intrusive state actions on the First Amendment. It was attempting to compel the Larsens to deliver a message they opposed.
...


Free Speech & Religious Freedom: Federal Court Upholds Constitutional Order | National Review
Good.
 
May 2019
6,952
8,726
midwest
Of course you find discrimination good. You're republican.
:cool:


<<....>>

In her dissent, Kelly predicted that Friday's ruling will invite "a flood of litigation that will require courts to grapple with difficult questions about whether this or that service is sufficiently creative or expressive to merit a similar exemption." She cited examples such as florists, tattoo artists and bakers.

The court's logic, she wrote, will also equally apply "to any business that desires to treat customers differently based on any protected characteristic, including sex, race, religion, or disability."

"And what may start in the wedding business — 'we don't do interracial weddings,' 'we don't film Jewish ceremonies,' and so on — likely will not end there," Kelly wrote. "Nothing stops a business owner from using today's decision to justify new forms of discrimination tomorrow."

Federal appeals court rules for St. Cloud couple seeking to deny same-sex wedding film services