The Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that the Constitution guaranteed a right to same-sex marriage nationwide, but before that decision, same-sex couples were allowed to marry in three dozen states. One of them was Minnesota, where same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013.
This week’s decision in Minnesota traces back to December 2016, when the Larsens filed a lawsuit against Kevin Lindsey, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Human Rights, and Lori Swanson, the state’s attorney general.
Mr. Lindsey’s office said on Friday that the department was “pleased” with the court’s decision, and if an appeal were filed, the state administration would “remain steadfast in ensuring that all people in Minnesota continue to be treated fairly by business owners.”
Ms. Swanson could not be reached for comment.
The Larsens said on their website that they founded their media production company, Telescope Media Group, to “magnify Christ like a telescope.” They said they wanted to counteract a “powerful cultural narrative undermining the historic, biblically orthodox definition of marriage as between one man and one woman,” according to court documents.
The couple said the state’s Human Rights Act, which prohibits a refusal to do business based on sexual orientation, hindered their plans to expand into wedding videos and infringed on their constitutional rights, including freedom of speech.
They had hoped to publish this statement on their website: “Telescope Media Group exists to glorify God through top-quality media production,” it read. “Because of TMG’s owners’ religious beliefs and expressive purposes, it cannot make films promoting any conception of marriage that contradicts its religious beliefs that marriage is between one man and one woman, including films celebrating same-sex marriages.”
But Judge Tunheim, who dismissed the lawsuit, said that the statement was “conduct akin to a ‘White Applicants Only’ sign that may be prohibited without implicating the First Amendment.”
“Posting language on a website telling potential customers that a business will discriminate based on sexual orientation is part of the act of sexual orientation discrimination itself,” the judge said, adding, “as conduct carried out through language, this act is not protected by the First Amendment.”
The A.D.F. said in a statement that the ruling was disappointing, but it was not the end.
“Tolerance is a two-way street,” said…