ICC Note: The city of Coeur d’Alene Idaho is backing away from the possibility of forcing a Christian owned wedding chapel to conduct gay weddings under threat of fine or jail time for the owners. The cities attorney says that after looking more closely at the relevant city ordinance, the chapel, although for-profit, may be exempt from the non-discrimination law. The possibility that the owners, two ordained Christian ministers, might face jail time for refusing to perform gay wedding services is the latest incident in an ongoing battle over religious freedom and increasingly secular values in the United States.
10/26/2014 United States (Christian Post) – The city of Coeur d’Alene in Idaho has reportedly realized that a for-profit wedding chapel owned by Christian ministers Donald Knapp and his wife, Evelyn, can refuse to perform same-sex marriages without violating “non-discrimination” laws.
The city earlier maintained that its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies because the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.
The couple needed to be a not-for-profit to be exempt from the ordinance §9.56, which bars facilities of public accommodation from discrimination, the city had said.
However, Coeur d’Alene city attorney Mike Gridley now says the ordinance doesn’t 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 was quoted as saying.
The Hitching Post reorganized earlier this month as a “religious corporation,” according to court filings, which includes owners’ description as having deeply held beliefs that marriage should be between a man and a woman, the Public Radio reports.