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-City Gives Choice to Christian Ministers: Perform Same-Sex Weddings or Go to Jail

by Dr. D ~ October 20th, 2014


                                                                     (ADF Photos)

City officials are demanding that a couple who are ordained Christian ministers conduct same-sex weddings in their wedding chapel or face fines and jail time. From Alliance Defending Freedom(ADF):

Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys filed a federal lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order Friday to stop officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from forcing two ordained Christian ministers to perform wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples.

City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

<Read the whole article>

Response: This case is particularly interesting since it involves not only a Christian business but two ordained ministers. Here is what an ADF attorney has to say about it:

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “Many have denied that pastors would ever be forced to perform ceremonies that are completely at odds with their faith, but that’s what is happening here – and it’s happened this quickly. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.” …

“The government exists to protect and respect our freedoms, not attack them.The city cannot erase these fundamental freedoms and replace them with government coercion and intolerance.”

It should be noted that most denominations, churches , and ordaining bodies in the USA do not allow their members to conduct same-sex ceremonies. The government in this case is not only demanding that this couple violate their own religious beliefs but probably also the rules and restrictions of their church or denomination regarding licensed  ordained ministry.             *Top

HT: The Blaze

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1 Response to -City Gives Choice to Christian Ministers: Perform Same-Sex Weddings or Go to Jail

  1. Brian

    Two comments:

    (a) Evangelical clergy has long charged for performing weddings. It is traditional that part of an evangelical pastor’s income be derived from modest fees for performing either a wedding or a funeral. The going rate in my neck of the woods is about $100. (I do not know if other branches of Christianity follow similar practices — does a Catholic priest charge for performing a wedding?)

    What is the legal distinction between the couple in Idaho charging for a wedding performed in their “wedding chapel” and a minister who charges for a wedding in his church? The attacks I have read today (comments on various internet sites addressing this Idaho situation) have focused on the fact that this is a “business” that charges for weddings. But, if that assertion is accepted by the courts (and I fear that it will be accepted), it opens the door to attacking any evangelical minister for performing weddings for money. (and, while I am on the topic, let me mention that funerals for a member of a gay marriage have not yet become an issue, but I anticipate that there will be similar pressure on Christians to allow such funerals in their churches).

    (b) The national media is mainly ignoring this issue. They have mainly ignored the NM photographer, the Iowa wedding chapel, the ORE bakery, and the NJ wedding chapel cases (to name a few). The impression that this silence by the news media is giving to the American public is that Christians are not being victimized. . . .


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