Sunday, October 19, 2014

Pastors Face Fines, Jail for Refusing 'Gay Wedding'

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, owners of The Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, have filed a federal lawsuit against the city for unconstitutionally forcing them to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.
“The Knapps are thus under a constant, coercive and substantial threat to violate their religious beliefs due to the risk that they will incur the penalties of jail time and criminal fines for declining to speak a message and perform a wedding service that contradicts their religious beliefs and ministerial vows.”
-- Lawsuit filed by Coeur d’Alene attorney Virginia McNulty Robinson, in partnership with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF)
UPDATE 6/20/15: Homosexuals Force Closure of Iowa Wedding Chapel

UPDATE 7/25/15: Kentucky Forbids Pastors Calling Homosexuality 'Sinful'

UPDATE 8/2/15: Christian Prayer Outrages California City Council

For background, click headlines below to read previous articles:

Houston Lesbian Mayor Subpoenas Pastors' Sermons

North Carolina Christians Lose Job: Refuse Same-sex 'Wedding'

American Preacher Arrested for Talking of Sexual Sin in Scotland

Canada: Pastor Found Guilty of Hate Crime

Supreme Court Rules Bible as 'Hate Speech' in Canada

European Union High Court Rules Gay Agenda Trumps Christianity

Also read Pentagon Says Christians Who Oppose Gay Agenda are 'Hate Groups'

In addition, read about states passing religious liberty laws to protect citizens and their businesses from lawsuits by homosexualists and/or fines by courts, and to ensure the free practice of religion without government interference.

So what is this ObamaNation?  It's a 'Fake Church,' Says Catholic Cardinal
Click here for local TV news video, and also see video of the Coeur d'Alene City Attorney Warren Wilson assuring prosecution of pastors.

-- From "Hitching Post sues Coeur d’Alene after declining to marry gay couple" by Nina Culver, The Spokesman-Review 10/17/14

The city passed an ordinance prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in 2013. It applies to housing, employment and “public accommodation.” Religious entities are exempt from the ordinance. But in May city attorney Warren Wilson told The Spokesman-Review that The Hitching Post, which is a for-profit business, likely would be required to follow the ordinance.

According to the lawsuit, a man called the business Friday to ask about a same-sex wedding ceremony and was turned down. The Knapps are now asking for a temporary restraining order against the city to stop it from enforcing the ordinance. Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and jail time.

The city’s ordinance is a violation of the couple’s First and Fourteenth Amendment rights along with a violation of the Idaho Free Exercise of Religion Protected Act, the lawsuit said.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Government to Ordained Ministers: Celebrate Same-Sex Wedding or Go to Jail" by Ryan T. Anderson, The Daily Signal 10/18/14

The Idaho case involves Donald and Evelyn Knapp, both ordained ministers, who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel. Officials from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, told the couple that because the city has a non-discrimination statute that includes sexual orientation and gender identity, and because the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the couple would have to officiate at same-sex weddings in their own chapel.

The non-discrimination statute applies to all “public accommodations,” and the city views the chapel as a public accommodation.

The Knapps have been married to each other for 47 years and are both ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. They are “evangelical Christians who hold to historic Christian beliefs” that “God created two distinct genders in His image” and “that God ordained marriage to be between one man and one woman.”

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "New America: Ordained ministers threatened with jail unless they perform same sex marriages" by Rick Moran, American Thinker 10/19/14

City officials in Coeur d'Alene Idaho have told a married couple who are both ordained ministers that they will go to jail if they refuse to perform wedding ceremonies for gay couples.

The couple would face 180 days in jail and up to $1000 in fines per day if they dared to adhere to their religious beliefs.

How many other towns and cities have statutes like this? No doubt there are other budding fascists out there who would enjoy putting Christian ministers in jail for not violating the sacred tenets of their faith.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

From "Can ministers who make a living by conducting weddings be required to conduct same-sex weddings?" by Eugene Volokh, Washington Post 10/18/14

Friday, the Knapps moved for a temporary restraining order, arguing that applying the antidiscrimination ordinance to them would be unconstitutional and would also violate Idaho’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. I think that has to be right: compelling them to speak words in ceremonies that they think are immoral is an unconstitutional speech compulsion. Given that the Free Speech Clause bars the government from requiring public school students to say the pledge of allegiance, or even from requiring drivers to display a slogan on their license plates (Wooley v. Maynard (1977)), the government can’t require ministers — or other private citizens — to speak the words in a ceremony, on pain of either having to close their business or face fines and jail time. (If the minister is required to conduct a ceremony that contains religious language, that would violate the Establishment Clause as well.)

And I find it hard to see a compelling government interest in barring sexual orientation discrimination by ministers officiating in a chapel. Whatever interests there may be in equal access to jobs, to education, or even in most public accommodations, I don’t see how there would be a “compelling” government interest in preventing discrimination in the provision of ceremonies, especially ceremonies conducted by ministers in chapels.

Note that, if the law can be applied against the Knapps, public accommodation laws could also equally be applied to ministers who provide freelance officiating services in exchange for money.

To read the entire opinion column above, CLICK HERE.

Also read 'Gay Marriage' Not Favored in Polls, Only in Court

And read Gay Agenda will be Complete when Christians are Muzzled, Say Homosexualists as well as Senator Ted Cruz Says the Gay Agenda Ends Christian Liberty