The ACLU, which fights civil rights violations across the nation, says Idaho's Hitching Post chapel is exempt from a non-discrimination ordinance.
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By now, the entire nation likely know of a little wedding chapel in the tiny town of Coeur d'Alene. Thanks to the nation's top anti-gay law firm, The Hitching Post has become the iconic victim of "homosexual bullies" who want to destroy traditional marriage and the First Amendment – if you listen to the homophobic, ignorant, Fox News watching masses, Mike Huckabee, and the American Family Association.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, the anti-gay law firm that has defended laws mandating life in prison for gay people, has spun a tall tale so ridiculous that the religious right bought it immediately.
But, as The New Civil Rights Movement reported earlier this week, the "facts" spewed by many, are lies.
And now, even the ACLU states the wedding chapel's ministers, who have been marrying couples for decades and cite their faith for their refusal to marry same-sex couples, won't have to.
That's what the entire argument that has captivated much of America, even managers at Walmart, has been about.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, as far as we can tell, are falsely claiming that at least one and maybe two same-sex couples have tried to get Donald and Evelyn Knapp, the owners of The Hitching Post, to marry them.
But there's zero proof of that, and the City of Coeur d'Alene states no one has filed a complaint. The City of Coeur d'Alene also states the Knapp's business falls under the religious exemption clause of the non-discrimination ordinance, and wonder why the Knapps never asked.
Fortunately, the ACLU (that's their logo at the top) has made clear this manufactured anti-gay attack by the ADF is totally false.
"The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho says it will not challenge a northern Idaho wedding chapel's refusal to conduct gay marriages because the chapel falls under a religious exemption," the AP reports. "Interim Executive Director Leo Morales said in a news conference Thursday that the Hitching Post became a religious corporation in Idaho nearly a month ago. Morales says the ACLU believes that under that exemption, the chapel does not have to comply with the city of Coeur d'Alene's ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation because the chapel only provides religious services."
Will the Alliance Defending Freedom withdraw its suit and apologize to the City of Coeur d'Alene, which has been flooded with 33,000 emails attacking them?
The Southern Poverty Law Center reports that despite the facts, the anti-gay hate group American Family Association is milking this for all it's worth -- and it's worth a lot.
The American Family Association – one of the biggest anti-LGBT organizations in the country with an estimated $20 million annual budget – says “homosexual bullies” are threatening to pressure the city of Coeur d’Alene to fine or arrest Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who operate the private wedding chapel.
The city of C’oeur d’Alene has asked the Knapps to withdraw the lawsuit, since they filed for religious exemption two weeks ago and would thus not be required to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies.
All those developments haven’t stopped American Family from making the Hitching Post case its cause célèbre, with a new “action alert” posting on its web page. “Once again, homosexual bullies have targeted Christian-owned businesses in their attempt to silence all opposition to their sinful lifestyle,’ the AFA message says.
That has resulted in a deluge of 33,000 e-mails and an estimated 300 phone calls to the office of Coeur d’Alene Mayor Steve Widmyer, city spokesman Keith Erickson told Hatewatch today. The e-mail messages “all read the same,” and are cut-and-paste scripted from the AFA web site, Erickson said.
One of American Family’s senior officials, Bryan Fischer, is the former director of the Idaho Values Alliance, a former AFA state affiliate. He has said homosexuality gave the world Adolf Hitler and was responsible for the extermination of six million Jews. Fischer also has called for criminalizing gay sex which, he claims, would end “gay indoctrination” public schools. He has also advocated forcing gay people into therapy to “cure’’ homosexuality which he likens to intravenous drug use.
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