St. Cloud couple sue state, say they shouldn't be forced to film same-sex weddings


The husband and wife video production team want to do no business with same-sex couples or anything that supports sexual promiscuity, among others.

There's not much Christian charity in Carl Larsen's voice.

Which seems odd, considering Larsen doesn't just wear his Christianity on his sleeve. He wraps his life in it. Larsen and his wife, Angel, are the co-founders of Telescope Media Group, a St. Cloud company that "exists to glorify God through top-quality media production."      

Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative-leaning legal nonprofit protecting "religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family," is suing the state of Minnesota in federal court on the Larsens' behalf. They're challenging the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which requires companies to do business with same-sex couples the same as they would with heterosexual patrons.

That's a problem for the Larsens if, say, a gay couple wanted to hire them to shoot their wedding video. The couple doesn't believe in marriage equality. Therefore, they don't want to be forced into doing business with sex-same clients just because Minnesota statutes say they can't discriminate.    

Carl referred all questions to staff at Alliance's Arizona headquarters. Messages left yesterday were not returned.  

The 48-page lawsuit depicts the Larsens as worried Christian warriors.

It reads, "[The] Larsens desire to counteract the current cultural narrative undermining the historic, biblically-orthodox definition of marriage by using their media production and filmmaking talents to tell stories of marriages between one man and one woman that magnify and honor God’s design and purpose for marriage."

According to the couple, that leaves them in a pinch. They must choose between following the law or following their faith. If they're to pick the latter by refusing business because the customers are gay, they could face fines and/or jail time.

The Larsens will "gladly work with all people," the suit continues, "regardless of their race, sexual orientation, sex, religious beliefs, or any other classification."

And yet, they want the right to selectively decline business. This includes anything that would support abortion, promote sexual immorality, or endorse "any conception of marriage other than as a lifelong institution between one man and one woman."  

The lawsuit contends Minnesota statutes violate various U.S. constitutional guarantees, including equal protection and freedom of speech. The Larsens are asking the court to stop state officials from enforcing state laws protecting equal rights.    

Bigots are not a protected class under Minnesota's equal rights law.

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