Two Christian filmmakers are going before the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota on Tuesday, to challenge the state’s law that is forcing them to create videos that contradict their religious beliefs.
According to CBN, Telescope Media Group owners Carl and Angel Larsen wanted to enter into the wedding industry, but the state’s Human Rights Act prohibits the couple from pursuing this avenue unless they make films promoting same-sex marriage, a union that their Christian beliefs define as between one man and one woman.
“The government shouldn’t threaten filmmakers with fines and jail time to force them to create films that violate their beliefs,” said their counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom Jeremy Tedesco in a press release. “Carl and Angel are storytellers – they script, stage, conduct interviews, capture footage, select music, edit and more – all to tell compelling stories through film that promote their religious beliefs.”
“The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 7-2 in Masterpiece that the government must respect the belief—held by countless Americans from all walks of life—that marriage is between one man and one woman,” he continued. “The 8th Circuit should reinstate the Larsens’ lawsuit and order the state to stop forcing the Larsens to speak messages about marriage that violate their beliefs.”
The Larsens previously tried to challenge the law as unconstitutional in 2017, but, according to CBN News, a lower court dismissed their case and told them that unless they make films for same-sex couples, they must close that part of their business. This decision has led the couple to appeal their case to the 8th Circuit Court.
According to their legal representatives ADF, Minnesota officials have continuously said that private businesses such as Telescope Media Group must create films promoting same-sex weddings, otherwise they are violating the law.
CBN News reports that the penalties for violating the Minnesota Human Rights Act could include “payment of a civil penalty to the state; triple compensatory damages; punitive damages of up to $25,000; a criminal penalty of up to $1,000; and even up to 90 days in jail.”
Photo courtesy: Jakob Owens/Unsplash