Update On “The Hitching Post,” The For-Profit Chapel Being Required To Hold Same-Sex Weddings

Emily Litella

“Never mind!”

From NPR in Boise:

The city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, says the Hitching Post, a for-profit wedding chapel owned by two ministers, doesn’t have to perform same-sex marriages.The city has been embroiled in controversy ever since the owners of the Hitching Post sued the city. They say a city anti-discrimination law threatened to force them to marry same-sex couples now that gay marriage is legal in Idaho…Initially, the city said its anti-discrimination law did apply to the Hitching Post, since it is a commercial business. Earlier this week, Coeur d’Alene city attorney Mike Gridley sent a letter to the Knapps’ attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom saying the Hitching Post would have to become a not-for-profit to be exempt.

But Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit. “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 explained.

…Leo Morales of the ACLU of Idaho said the exemption makes sense as long as the Hitching Post primarily performs religious ceremonies. “However, if they do non-religious ceremonies as well, they would be violating the anti-discrimination ordinance,” Morales said. “It’s the religious activity that’s being protected.”

…The group that helped create Coeur d’Alene’s anti-discrimination ordinance says the Hitching Post shouldn’t have to perform same-sex marriages. The Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations says in a letter to the mayor and city council that the Knapps fall under the religious exemption in the law.

In other words, the result is as I said it would be, and as Professor Volokh opined that it should be.

The ethical thing, of course, would be for the Knapps to treat same sex couples as the loving human beings they are and marry them like they do any other loving couples. But when it comes to administering a religious ceremony, the State cannot force the Knapps to do what their beliefs don’t permit. Meanwhile, that’s some legal talent they are hiring in Idaho. “But Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit.” Upon further review? I’d think the city’s attorney would actually read the applicable statute before threatening a business and its owners without cause.

Oh, Mike? Upon further review, the Constitution doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit either. But thanks for causing a thoroughly unnecessary controversy based on knee-jerk political correctness and sloppiness. Unless… you knew your theory was garbage all along, and were trying to bluff the Knapps into doing what you felt was the right thing, and their constitutionally guaranteed rights be damned. You wouldn’t do that, would you? I hope not. It would be unethical.

 

On Forced Acceptance Of Same-Sex Marriage: The Slippery Slope Stops Here

Hitching-Post-Idaho

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, pictured above, are ordained ministers who conduct weddings at their for-profit chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, called “The Hitching Post.” After this year’s ruling by an Idaho federal judge that the state had to recognize  same-sex weddings, a City of Couer d’Alene deputy city attorney went on  local TV to say that for-profit wedding chapels could not legally turn away a gay couple without risking a misdemeanor citation. The Hitching Post, he noted, “would probably be considered a place of public accommodation that would be subject to the ordinance.” The Knapps say the the City Attorney’s office has made the same assertion in telephone conversations with them.

Now, the Volokh Conspiracy reports, the Knapps have moved for a temporary restraining order, arguing that applying the anti-discrimination ordinance to them would be unconstitutional and would also violate Idaho’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.

They have to win. As Professor Volokh, a First Amendment authority of fame and renown, explains, Continue reading