Idaho state Sen. Steve Vick says one U.S. city’s efforts to force a Christian wedding chapel to perform homosexual marriages in his state is a blatant violation of the Constitution, and he is seriously considering legislation to get the state government out of marriage entirely because he fears churches will be the next target in the aggressive homosexual agenda.
Earlier this year, a federal judge ruled Idaho’s constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman was unconstitutional. While that decision was placed on hold during the appeals process, officials in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, informed Hitching Post wedding chapel owners Donald and Evelyn Knapp that they would be required to perform same-sex ceremonies or face jail time and fines if the court’s decision stood. Last week, the Supreme Court allowed same-sex marriages to go forward in the state.
The Knapps have operated the Hitching Post since 1989. They are Bible-believing Christians who refuse to participate in ceremonies they believe are clearly condemned in Scripture. A legal fight is already underway, and the city has confirmed that they are in violation of a city ordinance for declining to marry same-sex couples.
A letter from Coeur d’Alene city attorney states, “[I]f they are providing services primarily or substantially for profit and they discriminate in providing those services based on sexual orientation then they would likely be in violation of the ordinance.”
Sen. Vick said he and the local community are outraged by the Coeur d’Alene’s treatment of the Knapps and anyone else seeking the free exercise of their faith.
“It’s very disappointing to me that they would require a Christian business owner to do something that violates their religious convictions, which I believe are protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,” Vick said. “Most of the reaction that I incurred has been from disappointment to shock that [the city] would do that.”
Vick has plans to meet with the Knapps later this week to discuss the ordeal. In the meantime, he expects the state legislature to address the issue. Vick admits there is no concrete legislation in place yet, but many lawmakers strongly believe the state needs to take action. The senator is personally investigating two approaches, the second of which may come as a major surprise to other conservatives.
Written by GREG COROMBOS
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