Outrageous Ministers Told To Perform Same-Sex Weddings or Face Jail Time
Christian ministers in Idaho have been told that they have to either perform same-sex weddings or face jail time and fines.
Donald and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are facing legal trouble because they want to uphold the laws of the Bible and support traditional marriage.
Todd Starnes, author of "Godless America," appeared on Fox and Friends this morning and shared the latest on this interesting legal story, which centers on a city ordinance, passed last year, that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.
"Here is the issue," Starnes explained. "This is a for-profit wedding chapel, so even though they're ordained Christian ministers, they do have to abide by the public accommodation law, which is part of this non-discrimination ordinance that's in the town."
Starnes said that the Alliance Defending Freedom is representing the Knapps, filing a federal lawsuit on their behalf and also filing a restraining order, so the couple won't be fined in the meantime.
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.
Watch the clip above.