Bride and groom drop out of wedding lawsuit

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Another turn in the lawsuit filed against the governor, the state attorney general and Ottawa County that argues a wedding and reception should be allowed to go forward because both are religious services.

Friday, the couple at the center of the lawsuit is no longer involved in the case.

The whole point of this case was about a young couple from Byron Center, who wanted to have their wedding and reception at a venue in Holland.

But now, they are no longer a part of the case moving forward. There is a question of whether there is even a case to pursue.

The couple has not wanted to talk about the case. But News 8 heard from friends and family that they have been receiving negative attention both on social media and in real life after the suit was filed by the American Freedom Law Center, an organization listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group.

The sole plaintiffs on the case are Baker Events in Holland and owner Jay Carll, who has also refused to speak about the case.

The premise is that both the wedding and reception are part of the Christian tradition and should, therefore, be exempt from the restrictions on size, just like worship services.

On Thursday, a federal judge refused to issue an emergency order allowing the wedding to take place with 190 people.

In an email, attorney Robert Muise denied that the couple had been unaware that they would be named plaintiffs in the case.

“An allegation of improper legal representation are not only false, they are demonstrably false,” Muise wrote, producing a waiver he said was signed by the groom-to-be allowing him to be part of the case.

He said the only reason the couple is out is that the wedding cannot take place as planned, so they “will be voluntarily dismissed.”

Friday, Ottawa County Attorney Doug Van Essen said that without the couple, he believes the lawsuit lacks standing since a limited liability corporation cannot be a Christian trying to exercise First Amendment-protected rights.

The couple is getting married Friday, but it will be a much smaller ceremony.

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