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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk bklynboy68's Avatar
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    Default City threatens to arrest ministers who refuse to perform same-sex weddings

    October 20, 2014

    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 a $1,000 fine, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in federal court.

    Alliance Defending Freedom is representing Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene.

    “Right now they are at risk of being prosecuted,” their ADF attorney, Jeremy Tedesco, told me. “The threat of enforcement is more than just credible.”

    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.

    That ordinance, passed last year, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation, and it applies to housing, employment and public accommodation.

    City Attorney Warren Wilson told The Spokesman-Review in May that the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel likely would be required to follow the ordinance.

    “I would think that the Hitching Post would probably be considered a place of public accommodation that would be subject to the ordinance,” he said.

    He also told television station KXLY that any wedding chapel that turns away a gay couple would in theory be violating the law, “and you’re looking at a potential misdemeanor citation.”

    Wilson confirmed to Knapp my worst fear -- that even ordained ministers would be required to perform same-sex weddings.

    “Wilson also responded that Mr. Knapp was not exempt from the ordinance because the Hitching Post was a business and not a church,” the lawsuit states.

    And if he refused to perform the ceremonies, Wilson reportedly told the minister that he could be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to 180 days in jail.

    Now all of that was a moot point because, until last week, gay marriage was not legal in Idaho.

    The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an order on May 13 allowing same-sex marriages to commence in Idaho on Oct. 15. Two days later, the folks at the Hitching Post received a telephone call.

    A man had called to inquire about a same-sex wedding ceremony. The Hitching Post declined, putting it in violation of the law.

    City officials did not respond to my requests for an interview, nor did they respond to requests from local news outlets.

    “The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” Tedesco said.

    “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.”

    Alliance Defending Freedom also filed a temporary restraining order to stop the city from enforcing the ordinance.

    “The Knapps are in fear that if they exercise their First Amendment rights they will be cited, prosecuted and sent to jail,” Tedesco told me.

    It’s hard to believe this could happen in the United States. But as the lawsuit states, the Knapps are in a “constant state of fear that they may have to go to jail, pay substantial fines, or both, resulting in them losing the business that God has called them to operate and which they have faithfully operated for 25 years.”

    The lawsuit came the same week that the city of Houston issued subpoenas demanding that five Christian pastors turn over sermons dealing with homosexuality and gender identity.

    What in heaven’s name is happening to our country, folks? I was under the assumption that churches and pastors would not be impacted by same-sex marriage.

    “The other side insisted this would never happen – that pastors would not have to perform same-sex marriages,” Tedesco told me. “The reality is – it’s already happening.”

    Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, told me it’s “open season on Americans who refuse to bow to the government’s redefinition of marriage.”

    “Americans are witnesses to the reality that redefining marriage is less about the marriage altar and more about fundamentally altering the freedoms of the other 98 percent of Americans,” Perkins said.

    Why should evangelical Christian ministers be forced to perform and celebrate any marriage that conflicts with their beliefs?

    “This is the brave new world of government-sanctioned same-sex unions – where Americans are forced to celebrate these unions regardless of their religious beliefs,” Perkins told me.

    As I write in my new book, “God Less America,” we are living in a day when those who support traditional marriage are coming under fierce attack.

    The incidents in Houston and now in Coeur d’Alene are the just the latest examples of a disturbing trend in the culture war – direct attacks on clergy.

    “Government officials are making clear they will use their government power to punish those who oppose the advances of homosexual activists,” Perkins said.

    I’m afraid Mr. Perkins is absolutely right.

    No one should be discriminated against but have you noticed that any time a city passes a “nondiscrimination” ordinance, it’s the Christians who wind up being discriminated against?



    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/201...-declining-ma/

    http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2014/...-sex-weddings/
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  2. #2
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    They are running a for profit business in the public domain, they have to abide by local anti-discrimination laws.

    Why should they not have to comply? I can't discriminate against someone in my business based upon race, creed, gender, religion or sexual orientation, why should they, just because it is a chapel?
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  3. #3
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Default

    this is tricky as DD noted these are "businesses". It will be interesting to see how far the courts want to go with this. A church is not a business so this should be clear from this. We've had gay marriage up here for a long time up here and I don't remember reading of such a case against a chuch but for profit "ministers" have been successfully sued for refusing to marry a gay couple. There have been groups who have asked govt to remove the tax free status from any church that refuses to marry gays but i don't think there is the public backing for such drastic action. Many Catholics for instance have no issue with gay marriage at a civil level but any govt that dared try to force this on the Catholic Church would be buried forever politically.

  4. #4
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    Why would a gay couple want to get married at a chapel that doesn't believe in their lifestyle? Why aren't gay chapels popping up all over the states?

  5. #5
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by sickman View Post
    Why would a gay couple want to get married at a chapel that doesn't believe in their lifestyle? Why aren't gay chapels popping up all over the states?
    my guess is that they really don't want to get married there. They are just doing this to force the issue. And I understand the principle of it. No different than if a restaurant put up a sign saying "we will not serve any white cutomers". You can choose to go to another restaurant but you might to get the action of that business owner stopped as well.

  6. #6
    Atomic Punk Dave's Dreidel's Avatar
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    We have decided as a society our businesses that are in the public space will not discriminate based upon certain criteria.

    I know a lot of Christians don't like it, but you know what, a lot of Christians didn't like serving "ni&&ers" either, and the world is a better place for forcing them to do it.

    If you have a company in the public space, and are for profit, you cannot turn someone away due to the simple fact that you don't like them or how they live their lives.

    It's so simple. Just do the ceremony, take their money, and move on with your day.
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  7. #7
    Baluchitherium
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    Default

    Thread title is very misleading on this one. These aren't houses of God and they have every right to get married in your business. Hell, I have seen women marry cats and dogs in wedding chapels before...I think I might be married to a ham sandwich in Nevada.

    Nothing new here, just one side baiting the other.
    Last edited by Dick Punch; 10.20.14 at 12:30 PM.
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  8. #8
    Atomic Punk CaboChris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave's Dreidel View Post
    We have decided as a society our businesses that are in the public space will not discriminate based upon certain criteria.

    I know a lot of Christians don't like it, but you know what, a lot of Christians didn't like serving "ni&&ers" either, and the world is a better place for forcing them to do it.

    If you have a company in the public space, and are for profit, you cannot turn someone away due to the simple fact that you don't like them or how they live their lives.

    It's so simple. Just do the ceremony, take their money, and move on with your day.
    This happens because some Christians actually think God is going to cast them to Hell for disobeying him.

    This is complete shit.

    First and foremost, God commands us to abide by the law. We can be vehemently opposed to those laws (as in the case of civil rights) but we must not discriminate if the business is for profit. This is clearly the case, as the main service is quick-style weddings. Churches on the other hand, are a different thing all together, that service much more than weddings.

    You run a business? Green is all that matters.

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    If these guys really thought marriage was a sacred vow that was ordained by God in the bible, they pretty much killed that vibe when they made it a for-profit wedding chapel.

    That's like charging people to take communion.
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  10. #10
    Eruption Naked Wake's Avatar
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    what ever happened to separation of church and state?

  11. #11
    Outta Space Cowboy Scotty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Naked Wake View Post
    what ever happened to separation of church and state?
    Doesn't exist. Never did.

  12. #12
    Atomic Punk lovemachine97(Version 2)'s Avatar
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    Federal public accommodation laws are such a HUGE stretch of congressional power. Many state public accommodation laws are also dubious. You don't give up your constitutional rights just because you open a business.

    This case is pretty simple. The government can't compel someone to speak words that they believe to be immoral. That's a pretty clear violation of the first amendment. The state can't compel you to recite the pledge of allegiance, nor can they require you to put a slogan on your license plate. Similarly, the government cannot compel you to speak words in a ceremony with noncompliance resulting in closing your business, a fine, or jail. And if the ceremony you're forced to perform contains religious language, that's a first amendment violation as well.

    Even if you ignore that, it's a violation of the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

    Public accommodations were created as part of the Civil Rights Act in order to rectify the discrimination of the south. But the constitutional defense of their legality is incredibly thin. If states want to have them, fine. But they cannot force someone to violate their basic rights. Whether or not it is a business is immaterial (or at least should be).
    Last edited by lovemachine97(Version 2); 10.22.14 at 12:24 AM.

  13. #13
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bsbll4 View Post
    If these guys really thought marriage was a sacred vow that was ordained by God in the bible, they pretty much killed that vibe when they made it a for-profit wedding chapel.

    That's like charging people to take communion.
    I've been married in Vegas at a Chapel and at a Catholic Church.The Catholic Church charged a LOT more. Sure the church calls it a "donation" but lets be real, it's a charge. My family was also dismissed from a catholic church for not "donating" enough of our income on Sunday's.

    But again, if the chapel/church doesn't approve of your lifestyle and won't support it why get married there. To me you are suing out of spite. If I were for whatever reason not felt welcome somewhere like that I just wouldn't go.

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk bsbll4's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickman View Post
    I've been married in Vegas at a Chapel and at a Catholic Church.The Catholic Church charged a LOT more. Sure the church calls it a "donation" but lets be real, it's a charge. My family was also dismissed from a catholic church for not "donating" enough of our income on Sunday's.

    But again, if the chapel/church doesn't approve of your lifestyle and won't support it why get married there. To me you are suing out of spite. If I were for whatever reason not felt welcome somewhere like that I just wouldn't go.
    Did they have a bouncer at the door on Sundays or something? Or did you mean they kicked your family from the school? I've never heard of a church turning someone away on Sundays because they don't donate enough money. That's craziness if that's what happened!

    As for the Church charging more, even if they are non-for-profit, they still have massive operating expenditures--including numerous programs for the poor. Asking for someone to donate money to the Church to use their facility in that case doesn't bother me. It's not like they are sending profits to shareholders or something.
    CNN may think my opinion matters, but you shouldn't.

  15. #15
    Forum Frontman It's Mike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickman View Post
    I've been married in Vegas at a Chapel and at a Catholic Church.The Catholic Church charged a LOT more. Sure the church calls it a "donation" but lets be real, it's a charge. My family was also dismissed from a catholic church for not "donating" enough of our income on Sunday's.

    But again, if the chapel/church doesn't approve of your lifestyle and won't support it why get married there. To me you are suing out of spite. If I were for whatever reason not felt welcome somewhere like that I just wouldn't go.
    I've been going to Catholic Church since i was a kid and can't remember a time anyone was ever told what to donate. You often see people not donating at all actually and I'm yet to see anyone escored out. Your story is pretty shocking to me.

    As for wedding costs, yes it's a donation but they make a suggested amount. I think for us it was 2 or 3 hundred bucks. Which was great value compared to what everyone else charged us that day.

 

 

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