ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota’s attorney general says the state’s fight against a lawsuit filed by two Minnesota videograpghers who want the right to refuse to record same-sex weddings will continue in federal district court, instead of pursuing further appeals.
Attorney General Keith Ellison and Human Rights Commissioner Rebecca Lucero said in an opinion piece published in Thursday’s Star Tribune that Minnesota is opting not to take the case to the U.S. Supreme Court because they’d probably lose due to the limited facts on record and the Supreme Court’s current composition.
A divided three-judge panel of the 8th Circuit in August reinstated the lawsuit filed by Telescope Media Group of St. Cloud, agreeing with Christian filmmakers Carl and Angel Larsen that videos are a form of speech with protections under the First Amendment. A lower court had dismissed the case two years earlier.
Ellison and Lucero wrote that they don’t think it’s right that a business offering services to the general public can use the owners’ personal beliefs to discriminate against same-sex couples. They said the Minnesota Human Rights Act requires that if someone offers a service to the general public, they have to offer it to everyone.
But they said the best legal path forward is to take the case back to district court to build up a stronger factual record against the Larsens so that the state has a better chance of prevailing if the case ends upon appeal again.
Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com
The Associated Press