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Michigan Lawmakers Propose Genderless Fast-Food Toys

Some Michigan lawmakers seem intent on taking the fun out of fast-food “happy meals” by suggesting that the toy inside the kids’ meal be gender-neutral.

Democrat state Rep. Leslie Love of Detroit introduced House Resolution No. 49 last week to urge fast-food restaurants like McDonald’s and Burger King to stop gender stereotyping. The resolution explains that giving boys and girls different toys based on biological sex “can influence and limit children’s imaginations and interests by promoting some toys as only suitable for girls and others only for boys.”

In addition, the resolution points to a 2015 study by the Association for Psychological Science that shows that “boys are more likely to play with toys that develop spatial intelligence and reasoning than girls. These skills are especially important for success in academic and professional domains, including science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).” Since STEM jobs are often viewed as having a profitable future, the resolution co-sponsors seem to think that giving a young boy a “STEM toy” will further advantage boys for STEM jobs when they are adults.

The bill currently has one Republican and 13 Democrat co-sponsors but has not yet been set for a vote. The resolution is not legally binding, only a suggestion that fast-food chains change their current practices.

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Michigan Faith-Based Adoption Placement Agencies Attacked by ACLU

The ACLU has filed a lawsuit in federal court against the state of Michigan challenging the state’s law that allows faith-based foster care and adoption placement agencies to operate according to their biblical convictions and not place children with same-sex couples.

Apparently, both Bethany Christian Services and Catholic Charities, which are not defendants in the case, were named as two agencies that turned away two “married” lesbian couples who were trying to adopt children. The ACLU maintains that not allowing children to be placed with same-sex couples would reduce the amount of available foster parents, but the law’s supporters suggest that it would be the reduction of faith-based organizations that would actually reduce availability.

While Michigan prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, it does provide an exception for religious agencies.

The results of this lawsuit could set precedent for other states. If the ACLU wins, that could force faith-based agencies to close. And if the state wins, that’s great news for other states that want to keep running their organizations on biblical principles.

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Michigan Couple Gets Temporary Injunction to Sell at Farmer’s Market

As a result of a temporary injunction that was issued last Friday, Steve and Bridget Tennes of Country Mill Farms in Charlotte, Mich., will be allowed to sell their produce at the East Lansing Farmer’s Market until their lawsuit challenging their ouster is resolved.

The market had banned the couple in June after they posted on Facebook their belief that same-sex “marriages” are inconsistent with their Christian faith. The post was in response to a question about the family farm as a wedding venue.

Though their case is far from over, this is good news for the Tennes family. Says Kate Anderson, the Alliance Defending Freedom lawyer representing the farming couple, “Just like all Americans, a farmer should be free to live and speak according to his deeply held religious beliefs without fear of government punishment.”

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Michigan Man Supports Christian Family Banned From Farmer’s Market

We recently reported that East Lansing, Mich., city officials banned Christian farmers Steve and Bridget Tennes from selling produce at the local farmer’s market because they refused to host a same-sex “wedding” at their farm in nearby Charlotte.

Since then, another Michigan farmer, Kyle Barnhart, decided that enough was enough and called East Lansing city officials to decry this discrimination of the Tennes’ based on their religious beliefs. Barnhart added, “If they didn’t change their policy to include them, I was going to have this sign made out and I was going to hang it up so that people could drive by and see it.”

And that is exactly what Barnhart did. His sign, plastered on a barn, simply says, “The City of East Lansing discriminates against farmers.” Barnhart promises he won’t take his sign down as long as East Lansing keeps discriminating.

East Lansing claims the Tennes family violated their city’s SOGI law, but city officials have forgotten that the small town of Charlotte, Mich., does not have a SOGI law. ADF lawyer Kate Anderson argues that East Lansing has no jurisdiction over the town of Charlotte and cannot tell the Tennes family what to do on their own farm.

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Farmer Denied Participation in Farmer’s Market Due to Religious Beliefs

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit this week on behalf of Michigan organic farmer Steve Tennes of Country Mill Farms, who was denied participation in East Lansing’s farmer’s market, even though he had consistently provided exceptional service as a participant in the farmer’s market for the past six years. His offense? He mentioned his religious beliefs about marriage on his farm’s Facebook page. East Lansing city officials saw the post and then began developing a new policy aimed at blocking Tennes from participation.

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