First it was the lesbian Mayor of Houston, Texas demandingsermons from local preachers that preached against homosexuality, no we have another case in Idaho.
Two Christian ministers who own an Idaho wedding chapel were told they had to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and up to $1,000 in daily fines, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.
Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, two ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The wedding chapel is registered as a “religious corporation” limited to performing “one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible.”
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.
That ordinance, passed in 2013, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and it applies to housing, employment and public accommodation. This was not a problem until last week when gay marriage became legal in Idaho.
“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here – and it’s happened this quickly. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.”