Christian ministers told to perform gay 'weddings' or face jail time



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ABSTRACTChristian ministers told to perform gay 'weddings' or face jail time :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Editors Service About us Donate Spanish Portuguese Follow us: Loading News Headlines Vatican Americas Asia - Pacific US Europe Middle East - Africa Most Read Most Commented Archive Mandate Resources Abortion Advent Apologetics Benedict XVI Bible Cardinals Catechism Catholic Links Catholic Womanhood Church Fathers Holy Week Life & Family Liturgical Calendar Liturgy Mary Politics Pope Francis Prayers Sacraments Saints Virtue Tools Catholic Podcast RSS Feeds CNA TV CNA Audio Columns Bishops' Corner Book Reviews Cinemazlowski Fr. Robert Barron Guest Columnist In Good Company Led Into the Truth Movie Reviews Russell Shaw The Dispute of the Humanum The New (& the Old) Evangelization The Way of Beauty Viewpoint Documents Pope Benedict XVI Pope John Paul II Pope Paul VI Pope John XXIII Pope Pius XII Pope Pius XI Pope Pius X Pope Leo XIII Vatican II Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith Pontifical Council for the Family United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Cardinal James Francis Stafford Archbishop Charles J. Chaput Bishop Samuel J. Aquila Catholic Womanhood CNA Blog Home » News » US Christian ministers told to perform gay 'weddings' or face jail time Donald and Evelyn Knapp at the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Photo courtesy of Alliance Defending Freedom. Boise. Idaho, Oct 20, 2014 / 12:28 pm ( CNA/EWTN News ) .- Two Christian ministers in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, could face legal punishment or be forced to sell their nearly 100-year-old wedding chapel for declining to perform same-sex “wedding” ceremonies. “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,” Jeremy Tedesco, senior legal counsel with the legal group Alliance Defending Freedom, said Oct. 18. “The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” he said. “The city cannot erase these fundamental freedoms and replace them with government coercion and intolerance.” Tedesco responded to the changing legal climate in Idaho, which is threatening the work of David and Evelyn Knapp, ordained ministers of the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel. Married for 47 years, the couple has operated the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel since 1989. The 95-year-old chapel sits across the street from the Kootenai County Clerk’s office. Coeur d’Alene’s city officials have told the Knapps that their refusal to perform a same-sex ceremony at their chapel violates the city’s anti-discrimination policy. For each day they refuse to perform the ceremony, they face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines. The city’s application of its anti-discrimination ordinance follows a federal court override of Idaho’s constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union of one man and one woman. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the Knapps seeking a temporary restraining order against the city law. “If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for one week, they risk going to jail for over three years and being fined $7,000,” the lawsuit said. “If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for 30 days, they risk going to jail for over 14 years and being fined $30,000. If the Knapps refuse to perform one same-sex ceremony for a year, they risk going to jail for 180 years and being fined $365,000.” The Knapps’ limited liability corporation which operates the chapel, Hitching Post Weddings, says in its founding statement that the business intends to promote biblical marriage. The chapel’s religious ceremonies invoke God’s blessing on the newlyweds and cite the Bible in encouraging the couple to have a successful marriage. Couples married at the chapel receive a CD with two sermons about marriage and receive recommendations for many Christian books on marriage. The Knapps charge a small fee for marriages at the chapel. “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,” Tedesco said. The lawsuit charges that the city’s application of the law also violates Idaho’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Donald Kn.......