Main | Friday, October 24, 2014

IDAHO: Coeur d'Alene Declares Hitching Post Exempt From Anti-Discrimination Law

Via Boise's NPR station:
The city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, said a for-profit wedding chapel owned by two ministers doesn't have to perform same-sex marriages. 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.

Court filings show the Hitching Post reorganized earlier this month as a “religious corporation.” In the paperwork, the owners describe their deeply held beliefs that marriage should be between one man and one woman. The Knapps' attorney said the city is about to be tested on its approach. He said the Knapps have been contacted by the police about a complaint filed on Thursday by a same-sex couple who were turned away at the Old West themed chapel. 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."
As I noted yesterday, it's rather apparent that Alliance Defending Freedom has been orchestrating the Hitching Post story for months in the hopes of creating a test case that would invalidate public accommodation laws nationwide. (Via Good As You)

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