By Esme Murphy

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A St. Cloud couple went before a federal appeals court in St. Paul Tuesday morning arguing their video business has a right to refuse to make videos for same sex marriages.

Carl and Angel Larsen are appealing a lower court ruling that said their refusal to serve same-sex couples is discriminatory.

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The couple says their wedding videos are works of art and compelling them to make a work of art they disagree with violates their First Amendment rights.

“We are asking the court to uphold our freedom of speech and expression,” Carl Larsen said.

The pair owns the Telescope Media Group and were joined by a large number of supporters.

“We use film to help our clients tell the most important stories but we are also Christians,” Larsen added.

Among those in the courtroom was Minnesota’s Human Rights Commissioner Kevin Lindsey.

“Conduct matters and that when you are selling goods and services you should sell goods and services to all people in the state of Minnesota,” Lindsey said.

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These arguments take place against the backdrop of the landmark 2015 Supreme Court ruling, legalizing gay marriage and the June 2018 high court ruling that sided with a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same sex couple.

The group Alliance Defending Freedom represented the Colorado baker, and now, the Larsens. The group’s attorney says the Colorado case will help the Larsens.

Attorney Jeremy Tedesco said, “The court recognized that laws like the one Minnesota has here will sometimes go to far.”

The state says it will keep fighting.

Everyone should have the right to be protected under the law when they buy goods and services,” Lindsey said.

The ruling by the three-judge panel of the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals is not expected for several months.

The attorney for the St. Cloud couple say this case could end up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

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Esme Murphy