A federal appeals court has made a landmark ruling on freedom of speech, deciding that religious believers are engaging in constitutionally protected speech if they don’t take part in same-sex marriages. This is big news for business owners in Minnesota who’ve been under pressure from a controversial state law.
The case was brought to the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals by Carl and Angel Larsen, who run a video production company. They’re planning to expand their business to include weddings, but Minnesota’s interpretation of human rights law would force them to give the same service to gay marriages — which, the Larsens say, violates their Christian beliefs.
Judge David Stras ruled that the Minnesota Human Rights Act interferes with the Larsen’s freedom of speech in two ways; it forces them to speak favorably about something they disagree with, and it regulates the content of what they’re allowed to say. With the Larsen’s victory, a lot of religious believers in Minnesota will breathe easier.
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