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Supreme Court of the United States

22 Miles Is Not Too Far away for the Government to Impose Its Agenda

By Sarah Kramer posted on:
June 21, 2018

The Tennes family, who owns Country Mill Farms, had sold their organic produce at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market for seven years when they got an interesting phone call.

“I would like for you to clear up a rumor,” said the East Lansing Parks and Recreation director on the other end of the line.

The Tennes family is Catholic and strives to operate their farm in a way that honors God. They host community events open to everyone. They hold charity events and donate food to serve their community. They also host events like weddings. Because of their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, they do not host same-sex weddings on their family farm, but they do refer same-sex couples to another Michigan farm that has more experience doing so.

When they expressed their religious beliefs in response to a question on Facebook, though, East Lansing took notice. They tried to get Country Mill to stop attending the farmer’s market by telling them that protestors might show up. Still, the Tennes family continued to attend – no protestors greeted them.

As the following summer’s farmer’s market was approaching, however, the Tennes family did not receive an invitation to sell their produce. This was strange as they had been invited back each of the past six years. When they applied to attend, they were told that the way they operate their farm violates a city policy – a policy that was created specifically to exclude Country Mill.

There are a couple major issues with this. First, the Tennes family wants to attend the farmer’s market to sell the produce to everyone. They have never declined to sell their produce to anyone. And second, Country Mill is 22 miles from East Lansing – far outside of the city’s jurisdiction.

So the Tennes family reached out to Alliance Defending Freedom. Learn more about their case and where it stands now in the latest issue of Faith & Justice.

In this issue, you’ll also read …

  • ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Michael P. Farris on his oral arguments before the Supreme Court in National Institute of Family and Life Advocates v. Becerra.
  • How the ADF Church Alliance is defending a church in Maryland against discriminatory zoning laws.
  • President of the Colson Center for Christian Worldview John Stonestreet on why Christians must engage the culture.
  • How the City of Elgin, Illinois ganged up on four innocent men.


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Sarah Kramer

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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