Christian filmmakers file lawsuit against LGBT protections because they don’t want to film imaginary gay wedding

PinkNews logo on a pink background surrounded by illustrated line drawings of a rainbow, pride flag, unicorn and more.

A heterosexual Christian couple is suing the state of Minnesota because they’re scared they will have to film a gay wedding… even though no one has asked them to.

Carl and Angel Larsen run St Cloud video production company Telescope Media Group, and claim that their production company carries out filming work to bring “glory to God”.

This week the couple have teamed up with anti-LGBT Christian group Alliance Defending Freedom to sue the state in a bid to overturn its anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, insisting that one day they might be forced to film a gay wedding against their beliefs.

Curiously, the the couple’s showreel includes no footage from any weddings whatsoever, gay or straight; and there is no suggestion in the lawsuit that they have ever actually been approached by a gay couple with any request. Their website does not advertise specific wedding filming services, and PinkNews found no listings for their company on any Minnesota wedding services platforms.

However, lawyers from ADF – a notorious anti-LGBT Christian group that has opposed same-sex weddings, gay adoptions, civil unions, and even the repeal of Sodomy laws – argued in court documents that the couple’s constitutional rights are being infringed because they might be hired to film a gay wedding.

A complaint filed with the US District Court says: “The Larsens are deeply concerned that American culture is increasingly turning away from the historic, biblically-orthodox definition of marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman, and that more and more people are accepting the view that same-sex marriage is equivalent to one-man, one-woman marriage.

“Because of their religious beliefs, and their belief in the power of film and media production to change hearts and minds, the Larsens want to use their talents and the expressive platform of TMG to celebrate and promote God’s design for marriage as a lifelong union of one man and one woman.

“Specifically, 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.”

The filing challenges anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, claiming that the Minnesota Human Rights Act violates religious freedom laws because it might criminalise someone who “declines to create expressive wedding-related services celebrating same sex weddings”.

Again, for clarity: no same-sex couple has asked the Larsens to provide their services, and there is no evidence we can find that they have actually filmed weddings.

But they’re claiming gay people need to have their protections from discrimination stripped away because one day they might be asked to film a gay wedding and get sued over it.

It is not the first ADF case which appears to be built more on fiction than fact.

In September a similar case was filed by the ADF in Colorado, on behalf of a Christian “graphic designer” who also wanted the right to discriminate against gay clients who don’t actually exist.

Lorie Smith, a self-identified “graphic designer”, filed a lawsuit in a bid to demolish LGBT rights protections in Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act, claiming she creates custom wedding websites.

Although the lawsuit claimed that Ms Smith specialises in ‘custom wedding websites’, her public design portfolio does not contain a simple example of such a work.

However, her portfolio did include a number of works created for the Colorado Republicans and other strong political opponents of anti-discrimination laws.