Idaho Roundup: City in Idaho Demands Pastor Perform Same-Sex Weddings or Face Fines and Jail

Posted on October 30, 2014 in Marriage by

Idaho wedding chapelThis story has been all over the news and for good reason. The warnings against marriage redefinition have been numerous and strong and yet no one ever thought we would get to this point. Here we are. A pastor has been told that he must perform same-sex weddings at his chapel of face hefty fines and even prison for violating the city’s non-discrimination ordinance. Below is a roundup of notable voices regarding this story. Two videos are posted at the end of this post.

Fox News: City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings

Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene…According to the lawsuit, the wedding chapel is registered with the state as a ‘religious corporation’ limited to performing ‘one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.’ But the chapel is also registered as a for-profit business – not as a church or place of worship – and city officials said that means the owners must comply with a local nondiscrimination ordinance.”

Life Site News: Idaho ministers face fines, jail time for refusing to perform same-sex ‘marriages’

“Last week, after Idaho declined to defend its state marriage law, a man called the proprietors of The Hitching Post about ‘marrying’ another man. Donald and Evelyn Knapp declined to provide him that service, and immediately sued the city to prevent the ordinance’s punishments – including fines and imprisonment – from applying to them. Fines could total as much as $1,000 for each day the Knapps do not follow the ordinance, and jail time could total 180 days. ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco told LifeSiteNews that while The Hitching Post’s owners are conducting a service that is required by the state — all weddings require ‘solemnizing’ — “people don’t forfeit their First Amendment rights just because they are somehow involved with the government.”

Christian Times: Idaho Pastors Claim City Threatens Fine, Jail Time If They Refuse Gay Marriage

“Hitching Post owner Donald Knapp previously told KXLY that he would rather close the Hitching Post than marry a same-sex couple. ‘I think the Bible is pretty clear that homosexuality is not his way, and therefore I cannot unite people in a way that I believe would conflict with what the Bible teaches,’ Knapp told the local media outlet back in May of this year.”

ADF Media: GOVT TELLS CHRISTIAN MINISTERS: PERFORM SAME-SEX WEDDINGS OR FACE JAIL, FINES

“Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.”

Full news release, quotes, and related media resources available at the following link: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/9364

WND: Criminalizing Christian Behavior: It’s Here

“Let’s not brush over this as if it’s an immaterial matter to the Knapps or other Christians. Their belief in marriage as between one man and one woman is deeply rooted in their biblical faith – and not just in the Old Testament, as some have speciously argued…The point isn’t whether you or I believe this, though I do. It’s whether the Knapps believe it – and they do. Their attorneys’ complaint clearly states that they ‘are ordained Christian ministers who believe biblical marriage is good for society. Not only have they been happily married for 47 years, they have married roughly 35,000 couples and seen countless lives blessed through marriage. As ordained ministers, the Knapps believe God called them to promote the welfare of their community by uniting others in marriage. … Because their religious beliefs affect everything they do, the Knapps and Hitching Post, LLC only perform wedding ceremonies consistent with their religious beliefs.’”

Daily Caller: Idaho City To Christian Pastors: Perform Same-Sex Weddings Or Face Jail

“With the city moving to enforce that code, ADF moved to defend the Knapps. Eugene Volokh, UCLA law professor and legal blogger at the Washington Post, thinks they have a good case. That Coeur d’Alene’s move against the Knapps violates the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Volokh, who teaches free speech and religious freedom law, thinks, ‘…compelling them (the Knapps) to speak words in ceremonies that they think are immoral is an unconstitutional speech compulsion. Given that the Free Speech Clause bars the government from requiring public school students to say the pledge of allegiance, or even from requiring drivers to display a slogan on their license plates (Wooley v. Maynard (1977), the government can’t require ministers — or other private citizens — to speak the words in a ceremony, on pain of either having to close their business or face fines and jail time.’”

The New American: Idaho Ministers Face Jail for Refusing Same-sex “Marriage” Ceremonies

“The Knapps, who are ordained with the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, a conservative Pentecostal denomination, ran into problems when they were apparently reported to city officials after telling a potential customer that they would not perform a same-sex wedding ceremony, citing their Christian convictions as well as the ordination rules of their denomination. The city began to pressure them, warning them of the possible consequences should they refuse to submit. On October 17, the conservative legal advocacy group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) filed a lawsuit against the city of Coeur d’Alene on behalf of the Knapps, asking a federal judge to issue a temporary restraining order barring the city from any actions against the couple over their refusal to obey the ordinance. Noting that the Knapps believe marriage is a sacred covenant between only a man and a woman, the lawsuit charges that performing ‘same-sex wedding ceremonies would thus force the Knapps to condone, promote, and even consecrate something forbidden by their religious beliefs and ordination vows.’”

ADF Media: Coeur d’ Alene Confirms For Profit Wedding Chapel Violates Ordinance

“The Coeur d’Alene city attorney confirmed in a letter Monday that ordained ministers operating a for-profit wedding chapel are in violation of a city ordinance for declining to marry same-sex couples. The letter states that ‘if they are providing services primarily or substantially for profit and they discriminate in providing those services based on sexual orientation then they would likely be in violation of the ordinance.’ ADF attorneys representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp explain that the letter’s contention that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel is a non-profit entity that would be exempt from the ordinance is false.”

Full news release, quotes, and related media resources available at the following link: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/9366

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