Same-sex marriages come to Idaho.
2014-NOV & 2015-MAR:
Part 5 of 6: Hitching Post Wedding Chapel:
The confusion is basically resolved, but
the Alliance Defending Freedom fights on.
The term "LGBT" is a widely used acronym for the Lesbian,
Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender/Transsexual community.
2014-OCT: The New Civil Rights Movement (NCRM) weighed in (Cont'd):
David Badash of the NCRM wrote that according to some conservative Christian information sources:
"The Hitching Post has become the iconic victim of "homosexual bullies" who want to destroy traditional marriage and the First Amendment [to the U.S. Constitution]. ..."
"The Alliance Defending Freedom, as far as we can tell, are falsely claiming that at least one and maybe two same-sex couples have tried to get Donald and Evelyn Knapp, the owners of The Hitching Post, to marry them.
But there's zero proof of that, and the City of Coeur d'Alene states no one has filed a complaint. The City of Coeur d'Alene also states the Knapp's business falls under the religious exemption clause of the non-discrimination ordinance, and wonder why the Knapps never asked." 1
2014-OCT: The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) weighed in:
The SPLC reported:
"The city of Coeur d’Alene has asked the Knapps to withdraw the lawsuit, since they filed for religious exemption two weeks ago and would thus not be required to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
All those developments haven’t stopped [the] American Family [Association] from making the Hitching Post case its cause célèbre, with a new 'action alert' posting on its web page. 'Once again, homosexual bullies have targeted Christian-owned businesses in their attempt to silence all opposition to their sinful lifestyle,' the AFA message says.
That has resulted in a deluge of 33,000 e-mails and an estimated 300 phone calls to the office of Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer, city spokesman Keith Erickson told Hatewatch today. The e-mail messages 'all read the same,' and are cut-and-paste scripted from the AFA web site, Erickson said.
One of American Family’s senior officials, Bryan Fischer, is the former director of the Idaho Values Alliance, a former AFA state affiliate. He has said homosexuality gave the world Adolf Hitler and was responsible for the extermination of six million Jews. Fischer also has called for [re-]criminalizing gay sex which, he claims, would end 'gay indoctrination' [in] public schools. He has also advocated forcing gay people into therapy to 'cure' homosexuality which he likens to intravenous drug use." 2
It is worthwhile recalling that Exodus International -- the main conservative Christian group promoting reparative therapy to "cure' homosexuality -- closed its doors a in mid-2014 after apologizing for all the harm that they had done to the LGBT community with that dangerous and ineffective therapy during the previous 35 years of operation.
"Princess Erika the Radiant." a reader of the SPLC article posted her comment:
"Sometimes you just need to stop and laugh at the absurdities in life.
The American Family Association -- showing the same sort of willingness to become a national laughingstock that they did when they went after Mighty Mouse for promoting cocaine use -- is now claiming a wood panel phony western building for-profit wedding chapel called 'The Hitching Post' is now the guardian of heterosexual marriage.
You couldn't make up something that hilarious." 2
2014-NOV: Webmaster's comments: (bias alert):
I added the following personal posting to the comments section of the ADF's article. 3 At the time, I thought that the chapel was a for-profit public accommodation, and not a religious organization:
"Your article is amazing. It describes the situation faced by the owners of the Hitching Post very completely, except for the most important fact: their Chapel is a for-profit company. They just happen to be ordained. Their company is a business that is supposed to serve the general public and as such must follow the human rights laws of their state and/or municipality.
Human rights laws are very important because otherwise intolerant people running a retail outlet could refuse to provide goods and services to potential customers because of their race, skin color, gender, religion, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. That is destabilizing to society.
A second factor that you didn't mention is that the owners of the Hitching Post are violating one of Jesus' commandments -- the Golden Rule -- when they refuse to treat others as they would wish to be treated themselves."
Fortunately, my comment was not approved by the web site's moderators for obvious reasons. It never saw the light of day ... except here. If the ADF had published my comment, it would have added to the confusion that was still circulating about the Hitching Post Chapel.
2015-MAR: Negotiations between the Hitching Post and the city broke down:
A conservative Christian legal defense organization, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) had filed a complaint against the city of Coeur d' Alene, ID, to prevent the city from charging the owners of the Hitching Post Chapel under the city's human rights ordinance. It is unclear why the ADF took this step, because the owners of the Chapel had previously registered their business as a religious organization during 2014-OCT. This made them exempt from the anti-discrimination laws.
Negotiations between them and the city broke down.
Jeremy Tedesco, a ADF Senior Legal Counsel, said:
"The government can’t tell ministers they must perform same-sex marriages under threat of jail time and crippling fines. That’s exactly what the city did to Pastor Knapp and what the ordinance allows the city to do to others. In the absence of a settlement agreement, we look forward to vindicating our client’s freedom in court."
The entire conflict appears to be over the nature of the Hitching Post Chapel:
- The city's human rights legislation bans "public accommodations." from discriminating against persons with a heterosexual, homosexual, or bisexual orientation. A "public accommodation" is generally defined as a company that does business with the general public for a profit. The ADF's view seems to be that the Hitching Post Chapel is subject to the human rights legislation
- The Hitching Post earlier registered as a religious organization and is thus is not a public accommodation. Religious organizations have been allowed for centuries to freely exhibit such discrimination with immunity from human rights legislation because of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution generates a "wall of separation" between faith groups and the state. So, the Hitching Post "church" is exempt from human rights ordinances.
The freedom that the ADF's client seeks is the not one of the traditional religious freedoms, which include: the freedom of religious speech, writing, assembly, proselytizing, etc. Rather it is the religious freedom to discriminate against the LGBT community in violation of their religion's Golden Rule.
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
- David Badash, "Entire Hitching Post Controversy Is False: ACLU Finds Chapel Falls Under Religious Exemption," The New Civil Rights Movement, 2014-OCT-24, at: http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/
- Bill Morlin, "Anti-gay organization targets Idaho city’s anti-discrimination laws," Southern Poverty Law Center, 2014-OCT-22, at: http://www.splcenter.org/
- "Two ministers told to perform same-sex wedding face jail, fines," Alliance Defending Freedom blog, 2014-OCT-20, at: http://blog.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/
- Bob Unruh, " 'Gay weddings' mandate gets new Judgment Day," WND Faith, 2015-MAR-08, at: http://www.wnd.com/
Copyright © 2015 by Ontario Consultants on Religious
Originally written: 2015-JUL-28
Latest update: 2015-JUL-28
Author: B.A. Robinson