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Case

Telescope Media Group v. Lucero

Last Updated: 5/29/2020

Overview

What's at stake

  • The freedom of creative professionals to control their own speech without facing unjust punishment at the hands of government.
  • Whether the government can force creative professionals to promote messages that violate their core beliefs.
  • The right of creative professionals to be treated equally under the law regardless of the popularity of their views.

Summary

Carl and Angel Larsen are Bible-believing Christians who place Christ at the center of everything in their life, including their business. As owners of Telescope Media Group (“TMG”), a video and film production company that exists to tell great stories that honor God, the Larsens know the power of film to change hearts and minds.

Because they are passionate about marriage, the Larsens want to use their wedding cinematography to reanimate the hearts and minds of people about the goodness of marriage between a man and a woman. But the Larsens desire to enter the wedding cinematography field has hit a huge obstacle — a speech coercing state law. According to Minnesota officials, the State’s Human Rights Act mandates that if the Larsens make films celebrating marriage between one man and one woman, then they must make films celebrating same-sex marriages as well. State officials have categorically, publicly, and repeatedly threatened to prosecute expressive business owners who decline to create speech promoting same-sex marriages. And there are steep penalties for violating the law, including payment of a civil penalty to the state, triple compensatory damages, punitive damages up to $25,000, and even up to 90 days in jail.

The Larsens can’t comply with Minnesota’s speech-compelling law. Telling stories that celebrate a same-sex marriage would violate their religious beliefs and directly contradict the very message about marriage they desire to express. But they also don’t want to be investigated, prosecuted, and possibly jailed simply for exercising their First Amendment rights.

Rather than wait to be punished or thrown in jail due to this unjust law, the Larsens have chosen to file a pre-enforcement challenge. This means they filed a lawsuit before entering the wedding field, seeking a court order that says Minnesota cannot apply the law’s severe penalties against them if they exercise their First Amendment right to decline to promote a message with which they disagree. Until they get a favorable ruling, the Larsens are refraining from making wedding films and muzzling their speech about God’s design for marriage to avoid the severe penalties for violating Minnesota’s law.

Our role in this case

Alliance Defending Freedom serves as lead counsel for Telescope Media Group free of charge.

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Resources

Legal Documents

Court
Title
Date
{"docs": [
{"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "Stipulation to enter preliminary injunction", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---stipulation-to-enter-preliminary-injunction.pdf", "Date": "10/3/2019 7:43:46 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "8th circuit opinion", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lucero---8th-circuit-opinion.pdf", "Date": "8/23/2019 4:42:41 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "Appellants’ reply brief filed with 8th Circuit", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---appellants-reply-brief-filed-with-8th-circuit.pdf", "Date": "3/22/2018 4:55:47 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "Amicus brief filed with 8th Circuit - 10 states", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---amicus-brief-filed-with-8th-circuit---10-states.pdf", "Date": "2/9/2018 5:52:56 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "Amicus brief filed with 8th Circuit - The Cato Institute and 11 individual legal scholars", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---amicus-brief-filed-with-8th-circuit---the-cato-institute-and-11-individual-legal-scholars.pdf", "Date": "2/9/2018 5:52:56 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "Amicus brief filed with 8th Circuit - Ryan Anderson, Ph.D., and African-American and civil rights leaders", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---amicus-brief-filed-with-8th-circuit---ryan-anderson-et-al.pdf", "Date": "2/9/2018 5:52:56 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "Amicus brief filed with 8th Circuit - Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---amicus-brief-filed-with-8th-circuit---center-for-constitutional-jurisprudence.pdf", "Date": "1/29/2018 5:52:56 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "Amicus brief filed with 8th Circuit - Sherif Girgis", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---amicus-brief-filed-with-8th-circuit---sherif-girgis.pdf", "Date": "1/29/2018 5:52:56 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "Amicus brief filed with 8th Circuit - Foundation for Moral Law", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---amicus-brief-filed-with-8th-circuit---foundation-for-moral-law.pdf", "Date": "1/26/2018 5:52:56 PM"}, {"Court": "Appellate Court", "Title": "Opening brief filed with 8th Circuit", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---opening-brief-filed-with-8th-circuit.pdf", "Date": "1/19/2018 9:50:06 PM"}, {"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "Notice of appeal", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---notice-of-appeal.pdf", "Date": "10/20/2017 10:14:46 PM"}, {"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "Order granting motion to dismiss", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---order-granting-motion-to-dismiss.pdf", "Date": "9/20/2017 10:14:46 PM"}, {"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "Brief in support of motion for preliminary injunction", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---brief-in-support-of-motion-for-preliminary-injunction.pdf", "Date": "1/13/2017 10:14:46 PM"}, {"Court": "Trial Court", "Title": "Complaint", "FileName": "https://adflegal.blob.core.windows.net/mainsite-new/docs/default-source/documents/legal-documents/telescope-media-group-v.-lindsey/telescope-media-group-v-lindsey---complaint.pdf", "Date": "12/6/2016 10:14:46 PM"}
]}

Biographies

Jeremy Tedesco

Senior Counsel, Vice President of Communications

Jeremy Tedesco serves as senior counsel and vice president of communications for Alliance Defending Freedom.


Additional Resources

 

Watch: The Larsens' Story

Campaign: Create Freely

Video: What are "pre-enforcement challenges"?

 
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