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Mid-Michigan farmer to return to market while lawsuit continues

Flickr User Gemma Billings

A mid-Michigan farmer can go back to selling produce at the East Lansing farmer’s market while his lawsuit against the city continues.

Steve Tennes sued the city after it denied his application to sell produce at the East Lansing farmer’s market.

The city said Tennes violated a city ordinance when he refused to host same-sex weddings on his farm. Tennes says that violates his freedom of speech and exercise of religion.

Kate Anderson is one of Tennes’ attorneys. She says this market is the biggest one Tennes sells at.

“Steve is just excited to see all of his customers on Sunday and glad to be there.”

He’ll be able to return to the market starting Sunday until the market closes at the end of October.

“Those last six weeks are his biggest part of the season with the apple harvest. So he’s glad to be able to bring those organic apples to the market.”

She says the judge recognized that the city potentially violated Tennes’ right to free speech and exercise of religion.

“It’s an excellent recognition of what the constitution requires. The constitution ensures everyone the right to speak freely and to make their own decisions about what they believe.”

The city tried to have the case dismissed. It says it’s not required to open its property and engage in commercial transactions with people who violate the city’s policy. A federal judge says Tennes has a high enough likelihood of success, so the case should continue.