Telescope Media Group v. Lucero, No. 17-3352 (8th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
Plaintiffs own and operate Telescope Media Group, a company that makes commercials, short films, and live-event productions. Plaintiffs filed suit against Minnesota, seeking injunctive relief preventing Minnesota from enforcing two provisions of the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA), requiring plaintiffs to produce both opposite sex and same sex videos, or none at all. The district court denied a preliminary injunction and dismissed the complaint.
Determining that plaintiffs had standing, the Eighth Circuit reversed and held that wedding videos are speech and plaintiffs have a First Amendment right to make them for only opposite sex weddings; plaintiffs, like the creators of other types of films, will exercise substantial editorial control and judgment when making the wedding videos; and Minnesota's interpretation of the MHRA interferes with plaintiffs' speech by compelling them to speak favorably about same sex marriage if they choose to speak favorably about opposite sex marriage, and it operates as a content-based regulation of their speech. Applying strict scrutiny, rather than intermediate scrutiny, the court held that Minnesota seeks to regulate speech itself as a public accommodation and has violated the First Amendment by doing so. Finally, plaintiffs may pursue their free-exercise claim on remand.