Churches are not being forced to perform same-sex weddings

Churches are not being forced to perform same-sex weddings October 21, 2014

Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom
Photo: Alliance Defending Freedom

Fellow Patheos blogger Rebecca Hamilton has a rather dishonest article up today about two ordained ministers being sued for not performing same-sex marriages.

According to the Religion News Service:

The owners of an Idaho wedding chapel [The Hitching Post] have filed suit against officials in Coeur d’Alene, claiming that the city is unconstitutionally forcing them to violate their religious beliefs by performing same-sex marriages or face possible fines and jail time.

And RNS continued to explain:

A 2013 Coeur d’Alen ordinance bans discrimination, including based on sexual orientation, in places of public accommodation. Violation of the ordinance is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and jail time.

Hamilton believes this her worst fears come true, that churches will be forced to perform same-sex weddings.

After she complains about polygamy for no reason at all, she goes on to say:

“Gay marriage will never lead to ministers being forced to perform gay marriage wedding services, they told us. Well, so much for that one, too.”

But Hamilton is leaving off a very important piece to this story.

The Hitching Post is a for profit company and are therefore bound by the Coeur d”Alene nondiscrimination policy. That’s right, The Hitching Post is not a non-profit ministry or church, it is a for-profit business, so therefore it is bound by state and federal laws.

JT Eberhard clears this up very nicely:

Listen, nobody (and I mean nobody) gives a single solitary shit if ministers, in their capacity as ministers, perform wedding ceremonies for gay people.  Literally nobody.  What we do care about is businesses segregating water fountains, turning away gay customers, and breaking non-discrimination laws in any other way. That these business owners also happen to be ministers is completely beside the point.  Gays can already get married in the eyes of the government in Idaho, which is what matters.  Nobody cares about getting your god’s stamp of approval on their government-issued marriage license.

Why would Hamilton leave out this important detail? It is stated clearly in the RNS article, and fellow Patheos blogger JT Eberhard broke this down in detail on his blog, yet Hamilton decided to omit this piece of very important information?

If this story was about actual religious discrimination, most secularists would be right there next to the church leaders making it clear church and state need to be separated, but that is not what is happening. So stop playing the persecution card and report on the actual facts. This is lying for Jesus in action.

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