The Coeur d'Alene, Idaho wedding chapel that has become the right-wing poster child for the clash between LGBT non-discrimination ordinances and anti-gay religious beliefs will now be permitted to turn away gay couples seeking marriage licenses, city officials announced today.
Boise State Public Radio reports:
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.
Joshua Block, attorney for ACLU's LGBT Project writes:
Coeur d'Alene made the right call. Religious ceremonies by ministers are generally not public accommodations. http://t.co/Iugl6NmSf7
— Joshua Block (@JoshACLU) October 24, 2014
As Jeremy Hooper notes, before the reorganizing the chapel billed itself as a place for "wedding ceremonies of other faiths as well as civil weddings." Leave it to the gays getting equal marriage rights though to throw right-wing religious folks into a full-blown tizzy.