Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey

To book an interview, click on the "Book an Interview" button on any page at ADFmedia.org.
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Description:  The Minnesota Human Rights Act forces Carl and Angel Larsen and their company, Telescope Media Group, to use their filmmaking talents to promote same-sex marriages if they produce films that celebrate marriage between one man and one woman.


Minnesota filmmakers appeal ruling that allows state to control their stories

ADF attorneys representing owners of Telescope Media Group ask appeals court to reinstate lawsuit
Friday, October 20, 2017

 
MINNEAPOLIS – A pair of St. Cloud filmmakers on Friday appealed a court order from last month that dismissed their lawsuit challenging a state law that allows Minnesota officials to control the stories they tell. The law forces them to use their creative talents to promote same-sex marriages if they produce films that celebrate marriage between one man and one woman.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing Carl and Angel Larsen and the company they own, Telescope Media Group, argued before a federal district court against dismissal and in favor of an order that would suspend enforcement of the law against the Larsens while their case proceeds. The court denied that request and ruled in favor of the state’s motion to dismiss the lawsuit, which means the Larsens have to continue censoring their own speech about marriage to avoid violating the law.

“Creative professionals who engage in the expression of ideas shouldn’t be threatened with fines and jail simply for having a particular point of view about marriage that the government may not favor,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “People should have the freedom to disagree on critical matters of conscience, which is why everyone, regardless of their view of marriage, can support the Larsens. The same government that can force them to violate their faith and conscience can force any one of us to do the same. That’s why we are appealing the district court’s ruling to the 8th Circuit.”

Specifically, the lawsuit, Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey, challenges portions of Minnesota Statutes Chapter 363. The Minnesota Department of Human Rights has construed that law to force creative professionals like the Larsens to promote objectionable messages even though they gladly serve everyone and decide what stories to tell based on the story’s message, not any client’s personal characteristics.

“Like most people in the expressive professions, we work with all people; we just can’t promote all messages…,” Angel Larsen wrote in a Fox News op-ed published Friday. “Two of our sons are adopted from Ethiopia. Our youngest child is half Cameroonian and half Native American. And having eight children means we can’t afford to travel the world, so we bring the world to us. We do this precisely because we believe beauty exists in the diversity of God’s creation…. This has included spending Christmas with an alcoholic Vietnam veteran, a bisexual international student, and yes, even Trump supporters, among many, many others. We love all people. We work with all people. We simply don’t promote all messages.”

Minnesota Department of Human Rights officials have repeatedly stated that private businesses such as the Larsens’ violate the law if they decline to create expression promoting same-sex weddings. Penalties for violation 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.

Renee Carlson, one of nearly 3,200 private attorneys allied with ADF, is serving as local counsel in the case for the Larsens and Telescope Media Group.
 
  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Teh-DESS’-koh)

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
 
# # # | Ref. 53488

Additional resources: Telescope Media Group v. Lindsey

Scroll down to view additional resources pertaining to this case and its surrounding issue.
Saturday, October 21, 2017

Previous news releases:

  • 2017-09-20: ADF to appeal ruling that allows Minnesota officials to control filmmakers’ stories
  • 2017-05-25: Minnesota filmmakers to court: Stop state from controlling stories we tell
  • 2017-01-13: Minnesota filmmakers ask court to halt state control of their films
  • 2016-12-06: Minnesota filmmakers’ lawsuit puts freedom in focus

Commentary:

  • Carl Larsen: Preserve freedom, including religious convictions, for everyone (St. Cloud Times, 2017-10-21)
  • Angel Larsen: Christian videographer: Let's live together in peace instead of silencing those with whom we disagree (Fox News, 2017-10-20)
  • James Gottry: Court put state law above First Amendment in wedding video case (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2017-09-27)
  • Jim Campbell: Arguments separating fashion designers from other artists aren’t worthy of the runway (National Review, 2017-01-23)
  • Jim Campbell: Designers can refuse to dress the Trumps. Other artists should have the same freedom. (Washington Post, 2017-01-18)
  • Jordan Lorence: Because of Trump, The Left suddenly cares about conscience rights again (The Federalist, 2017-01-04)
  • Jonathan Scruggs: Lawsuit: Businesses have same right as people (St. Cloud Times, 2016-12-24)
  • Jeremy Tedesco: Minnesota wants to censor and coerce Christian artists (The Gospel Coalition, 2016-12-22)
  • Jeremy Tedesco: The Left’s discrimination double standard: artistic freedom for me, but not for thee (CNS News, 2016-12-13)
  • Carl Larsen: Religious beliefs and the marketplace: We’re acting pre-emptively to protect our rights (Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2016-12-07)

Legal documents, related news, and other related resources available in the right panel when this page is viewed at ADFmedia.org.