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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.
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COMMENTS VIA TWITTER
Free speech is under renewed assault in Victoria. Proposed laws that extend the Racial and Religious Tolerance Act… https://t.co/rUQxQGPfh2
@LyleShelton @EqualityAu @resourcefultype Now I'm no scientist but don't you want free speech? This is free speech.… https://t.co/Tnv5BtP29E
@sfergs_ We have these things called rights.. such as a right to free speech (Canada can give you a ticket for sayi… https://t.co/c4pGfoS9cL
@ASants87 @HCSOTexas @maddow Free speech & freedom of assembly is one of most precious rights our founding fathers… https://t.co/TciJNZkkp3
@andylassner @SarahHuckabee I think shes talking about God given rights as enumerated in the Constitution. Rights l… https://t.co/p9kgdXLvBy