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Grant Strobl and Jacob Chludzinski

City backs down from forcing citizens to support opposing political beliefs

After facing a lawsuit, the city of Ann Arbor, Mich., has determined that a political consulting firm will not be subject to a public accommodations law that would have forced the firm to promote political beliefs they oppose.

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing ThinkRight Strategies and its owners, Grant Strobl and Jacob Chludzinski, agreed with the city to end the suit. Under the agreement, the firm and its owners can continue to promote only political messages and causes that are consistent with their conservative and religious principles.

The city of Ann Arbor has a law that prohibits discrimination based on political beliefs. Strobl and Chludzinski are both Christians and challenged the city’s law concerned that they and their company would be forced to promote political messages and causes that contradict their religious beliefs, just as similar laws across the country have been used to force cake artists and printing companies to promote messages they oppose.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of Strobl and Chludzinski and their company by the Alliance Defending Freedom in July.

The agreement filed with the court confirms that the city does not consider ThinkRight to be subject to its public accommodations law.

“The First Amendment protects people’s freedom to choose what to say and what to endorse, and Americans don’t have to wait to be punished to protect this freedom,” said ADF Senior Counsel Jonathan Scruggs, director of the ADF Center for Conscience Initiatives. “The positive outcome here for Grant and Jacob underscores a core American principle: The government can’t force creative professionals to surrender free speech and religious freedoms in order to operate a business. We’re pleased that Ann Arbor quickly and clearly clarified the scope of its law to respect our clients’ freedoms protected by the First Amendment.”

Timothy W. Denney served as local counsel in the case for Strobl, Chludzinski, and their business. He’s just one of nearly 3,400 attorneys allied with the ADF.

–Metro Voice an wire services