I Do, Becomes I Won’t — Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Gov’t Tells Ministers To Perform Gay Marriage Or Face Jail
By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton
Never in my wildest nightmares would I have believed this could happen in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where I lived for five years until recently and where I spent part of my childhood. Idaho, is for the most part, a bastion of conservatism. Now, pastors are facing 180 days in jail if they refuse to perform a gay marriage ceremony:
(Alliance Defending Freedom) 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.
“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.”
We were told this could never happen, except it just did in Houston, Texas and now in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. This horrifically violates our freedom of religion as Christians. As I write this, many pastors have decided to stand their ground and go to jail over this if it is pursued. If they follow their faith, they have very little in the way of alternative choices here.
This mandate by these fascist city officials is against the law, including Idaho’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, as well as the 1st Amendment of the US Bill of Rights.
From William Teach at Right Wing News:
Oh, and just to be truly clear, here’s Section I, Article 4 of the Idaho Constitution:
Guaranty of religious liberty. The exercise and enjoyment of religious faith and worship shall forever be guaranteed; and no person shall be denied any civil or political right, privilege, or capacity on account of his religious opinions; but the liberty of conscience hereby secured shall not be construed to dispense with oaths or affirmations, or excuse acts of licentiousness or justify polygamous or other pernicious practices, inconsistent with morality or the peace or safety of the state; nor to permit any person, organization, or association to directly or indirectly aid or abet, counsel or advise any person to commit the crime of bigamy or polygamy, or any other crime. No person shall be required to attend or support any ministry or place of worship, religious sect or denomination, or pay tithes against his consent; nor shall any preference be given by law to any religious denomination or mode of worship.