This week, Telescope Media Group, a Minnesota media-production company, filed a lawsuit claiming that the state’s nondiscrimination law violates their religious freedom. They are seeking a court order that would exempt them from the nondiscrimination provisions that otherwise apply to all businesses open to the public. Why? They want to turn away same-sex couples who might purchase the company’s wedding-video-production services.
This is yet another lawsuit in a string of cases brought by Alliance Defending Freedom based on the same formula: Find a business that wants to discriminate against LGBTQ people and file suit in an attempt to get the state or local nondiscrimination law struck down as unconstitutional. In each of these cases, including the suit filed by Telescope Media Group, no same-sex couples have actually approached the business owners who have gone to court. ADF is acting preemptively to try to get nondiscrimination statutes off the books.
So far, this tactic has not been a winning formula: In September, in another ADF case, an Arizona trial court refused a calligraphy shop’s initial request to bar enforcement of a nondiscrimination law.
Religious freedom is a vital American right, but true religious freedom doesn’t sanction harm to others. Using freedom of religion as an excuse to avoid the legal repercussions for discriminating against LGBTQ couples perverts this core American value.