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Alliance Defending Freedom Claims Anti-gay Idaho Wedding Chapel Never Sought Non-Profit Status - VIDEO

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Anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) has posted a response to a letter from the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho relating to the litigation group's discrimination lawsuit on behalf of a local wedding chapel, reports Joe My God.

Donald and Evelyn Knapp, the owners of Hitching Post, a wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, claim in the lawsuit that the city's ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages.

Back in May, the Knapps said that they would rather close their doors than perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

The letter sent by the city to ADF on October 20th makes it clear that, although the Knapps registered their business as a religious corporation early this month, “based on the facts and their corporate status at the time [the couple refused to perform a same-sex wedding],” Hitching Post comes under the city’s non-discrimination order.

However, ADF has posted a response on its website backtracking on claims that Hitching Post has in fact been registered as a non-profit religious organization.  ADF has attacked the city’s “disingenuous waffling” and is now arguing that the Coeur d’Alene intends to “prosecute a for-profit business.”

Knapps“The city has said explicitly, repeatedly, and publicly that it would prosecute a for-profit business. That’s what the Hitching Post is, and it has never claimed to be anything other than that.

"While the Knapps do operate a ministry, they charge a fee for the ceremonies in order to be able to make a modest living. Therefore, the city, in its letter and elsewhere, is admitting that it would prosecute these pastors, who are clearly under a present threat of being sent to jail, fined, or both.

"The city has had months to figure out its own ordinance, and our clients have years of incarceration and devastating fines hanging over their heads. The city’s disingenuous waffling is indefensible.”

Earlier this month, the ADF began lobbying Slovakia's constitutional court to allow activists to place a referendum on the country's ballot that would reinforce the current bans on gay marriage, adoption, and domestic partner protections. The ADF's efforts in promoting bigotry abroad were profiled in Human Rights Campaign's "Export of Hate" report last month.

Watch an ABC report on the case, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Lesbian Veteran from Idaho Can Now Be Buried Next to Her Wife: VIDEO

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Madelynn Taylor, a 74-year-old U.S. Navy veteran from Boise who has been battling for the right to be buried beside her late wife Jean Mixner in the Idaho Veterans Cemetery, has won her fight, NCLR reports:

Idaho officials agreed to Taylor’s request following the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ (NCLR) recent victory in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which found that Idaho’s ban on marriage equality violated the U.S. Constitution. The court ordered marriages to begin on October 15, 2014, and directed the state to recognize the marriages of couples who married in other states.

Taylor served in the Navy from 1958 to 1964. In late 2013, Idaho officials denied Taylor’s request to be buried in the Idaho State Veterans Cemetery together with her late wife, citing Idaho’s laws prohibiting marriage by same-sex couples. NCLR and Boise attorneys Deborah A. Ferguson and Craig Durham of Ferguson Durham PLLC filed a lawsuit on Taylor’s behalf, challenging the exclusion as a violation of the due process and equal protection guarantees of the U.S. Constitution.

“Words can’t describe how incredibly grateful I am for all the work that went into making our wishes possible,” said Taylor. “Idaho is where some of our best memories together are and it’s where I want to spend eternity with Jean.”

Said Ferguson: “Lee deserves credit for shining a powerful light on the injustice and indignity caused by Idaho’s former exclusion of same-sex couples from marriage. Her persistence, visibility, and refusal to accept inequality are a model for us all.”

Taylor's story, as you may recall, inspired a fellow veteran named Barry Johnson to offer his burial plot to her when he heard of the disgusting discrimination and injustice she faced.

Watch a video on Taylor's battle, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Idaho Governor Says He'll File for Full 9th Circuit to Re-Hear Case Challenging Gay Marriage Ban

Idaho Governor Butch Otter announced today that he will file a petition for the full 9th Circuit Court to re-hear the case challenging the state's gay marriage ban. A three -judge panel of the 9th Circuit struck down the ban on October 7.

OtterSaid Otter's office in a news release:

The Governor said the three-judge panel made some critical errors in its decision, among them failing to apply the correct legal standard to Idaho’s marriage laws. The “en banc” review by 11 judges from the 9th Circuit would enable the State of Idaho to make its case to a larger and more diverse group of jurists.

“One of the key arguments against the Idaho Constitution’s defense of traditional marriage has been that redefining it to include same-sex couples would not harm anyone.  But the Hitching Post example shows the fallacy of that position,” Governor Otter said.

A lawsuit filed in federal court last Friday on behalf of Don and Lynn Knapp, ordained ministers and owners of the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, alleges the couple’s constitutional right to religious freedom would be violated by their city’s 2013 antidiscrimination ordinance if they are compelled to officiate over such ceremonies. The city contends it will not prosecute legitimate nonprofit religious organizations exercising their First Amendment rights.

Added Otter:

“I have repeatedly pointed out to the courts that unaccountable judges imposing their perception of social change on the law – rather than public policy being changed through the democratic process – undoubtedly will lead to increased religious strife and restrictions on private property. For these important reasons, I will continue defending Idahoans’ self-determination and the will of Idaho voters who decided that traditional marriage is a core principle of our society.”

Otter also said in his request that allowing the three-judge panel's decision to stand will violate First Amendment freedom of religion laws. He added that he continues to monitor opportunity for the case to be taken by the U.S. Supreme Court.


Pat Robertson Tells Bigoted Idaho Wedding Chapel Owners to Flee 'Onslaught of Homosexual Behavior' - VIDEO

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Reacting to the Coeur d'Alene, Idaho wedding chapel owners who have filed a lawsuit to prevent the city from enforcing it's ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays, televangelist Pat Robertson warned the couple to flee the coming "onslaught of homosexual behavior" in the state or risk having to perform a gay marriage. 

Said Robertson: 

If I were that couple I'd get ahead of the curve. Get on an airplane and leave Idaho or get in your car and drive across the border into Montana. Get out of that state and if need be close your chapel down. Get ahead of it because this is outrageous. But I was afraid this would happen. The next thing you know it'll be a church...a church is going to be forced to do things like that.  

Of course, with Montana (like Idaho) falling under the jurisdiction of the Ninth Circuit and a hearing for summary judgement set November 20, the couple should probably hold off on opening up any bigoted business across the border too. 

Watch the clip, AFTER THE JUMP...

[via Right Wing Watch]

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Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Wedding Chapel Files Lawsuit Against City After Refusing to Perform Gay Marriages

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The owners of a wedding chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho have filed a lawsuit claiming the city's ordinance prohibiting discrimination against gays and lesbians is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages. 

Hitching Post owners Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who are being represented by the anti-gay Christian litigation group Alliance Defending Freedom, claim that performing a gay wedding ceremony would force them to "condone, promote and even consecrate somehting forbidden by their religious beliefs and ordination vows."

The Spokesman-Review reports:

KnappAccording 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 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,” the suit reads.

Marraige equality began in Idaho last Wednesday. 


Meet Idaho's Most Outspoken Anti-Gay Bigots and Their Hateful Truck: VIDEO

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Boise, Idaho-area couple Justin and Melanie Sease are driving around in a car painted with phrases like "HOMOSEXUALITY is a sin & a abomination", "Just Say NO to Gay Marriage", and "GOD'S NOT DEAD". They say they're speaking out for others who are afraid to do the same in light of the recent arrival of marriage equality in the state, and whine to KBOI that they're being ridiculed for it:

2truck"We've had a few homosexual extremists who cuss us out and get very angry with us and threaten us."

Why are they on a crusade?

Says Justin, who claims he's "taking a stand for the Heavenly Father":

"We can never accept public homosexuality. It's wrong, and it's wrong in God's eyes first. He's very clear in the Bible. The Bible says that when homosexuality is publicly accepted, basically it spreads like a cancer....This is kind our little way of protesting the homosexual extremist movement..."

Said Melanie:

"If nobody else is going to do it, why not start doing it. Hopefully, other people will join us and follow us and do what we're doing.Most everyone who has seen our vehicles gives us a thumbs up, waves, smiles, or honks."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

(h/t vocativ)

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