The city of Coeur d’Alene in Idaho is now saying that a wedding chapel operated by Christian ministers Donald and Evelyn Knapp can refuse to perform same-sex marriages.
Earlier, the city had said that the for-profit wedding chapel, Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, was violating non-discrimination laws by refusing to perform same-sex marriages. The Knapps faced high fines and possible jail time for violating the laws.
Under an initial understanding of the city ordinance, the chapel needed to be a not-for-profit to be exempt from the non-discrimination laws.
However, Coeur d'Alene city attorney Mike Gridley now says the ordinance does not specify non-profit or for-profit, according to Boise State Public Radio.
"After we've looked at this some more, we have come to the conclusion they would be exempt from our ordinance because they are a religious corporation," Gridley said.
Earlier this month, the Hitching Post reclassified as a “religious corporation.”
ADF attorneys have filed a federal lawsuit and a motion to temporarily keep Coeur d'Alene city officials from forcing the chapel to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.
The city is "unconstitutionally coercing" the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies "in violation of their religious beliefs, their ordination vows, and their consciences," the lawsuit says.
Publication date: October 27, 2014
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.