This matter involves Steve Tennes and Country Mill Farms, a fruit orchard in Michigan. In addition to selling fruit, Tennes uses the orchard to host weddings. He posted the following to Facebook:

This past fall our family farm stopped booking future wedding ceremonies at our orchard until we could devote the appropriate time to review our policies and how we respectfully communicate and express our beliefs. The Country Mill engages in expressing its purpose and beliefs through the operation of its business and it intentionally communicates messages that promote its owners’ beliefs and declines to communicate messages that violate those beliefs. The Country Mill family and its staff have and will continue to participate in hosting the ceremonies held at our orchard. It remains our deeply held religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman and Country Mill has the First Amendment Right to express and act upon its beliefs. For this reason, Country Mill reserves the right to deny a request for services that would require it to communicate, engage in, or host expression that violates the owner’s sincerely held religious beliefs and conscience. Furthermore, it remains our religious belief that all people should be treated with respect and dignity regardless of their beliefs or background. We appreciate the tolerance offered to us specifically regarding our participation in hosting wedding ceremonies at our family farm.

Sadly, this kind of discrimination is perfectly legal in Michigan. However, it is not legal in East Lansing which is where Tennes sells his crop at the Farmer’s Market (the farm is in another town 20 miles away).

East Lansing modified its nondiscrimination ordinance to preclude Tennes from using the Farmer’s Market. Alliance Defending Freedom has sued in federal court. If the facts are as stated by ADF they probably have a good case. ADF being ADF it is always possible that the facts are different.

Which brings me back to Mr. Tennes who claims to be an observant Catholic. It seems rather arrogant to presuppose that renting out some land under some fruit trees constitutes approval of a same-sex wedding. It’s just business.

The Church says that Tennes has a duty to frustrate gay marriages which is more than a little stupid. It doesn’t deter any gay couple from marrying and pisses off the couple and their friends and their families. What’s the point?

Joe Biden is also an observant Catholic yet he has officiated same-sex weddings. He is capable of the critical thinking necessary to properly evaluate the teachings of the Church. Tennes, however, is in mindless, robotic lockstep. None of this makes the least bit of sense.

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.