NOM BLOG

Volokh on Coeur d'Alene Ordinance: "Inconsistent with the Free Speech Clause and the Idaho RFRA"

 

UCLA Law Professor and Washington Post blogger Eugene Volokh has posted an analysis of the controversy surrounding the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

If you haven't heard about the outrageous case, click here for more information.

The basic situation is this, as explained by Alliance Defending Freedom, one of whose allied attorneys will be representing the couple that runs the chapel:

City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines. The city claims its “non-discrimination” ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman.

Silenced

As ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco notes, "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."

Volokh, in his piece, seems to agree with ADF that "he city is on seriously flawed legal ground." He writes:

The First Amendment protects the right to speak the words in a wedding ceremony — words that have deep meaning to many officiants as well as to the parties — and the right to refrain from speaking the words. A system which secures the right to spread religious and moral messages inherent in the wedding vows must also guarantee the right not to convey those messages (including the message of approval of the wedding inherent in the act of officiating at it) in contexts that the officiant thinks unholy and immoral rather than sacred and right.

187643976We hope and pray that the Knapps are successful in their lawsuit. But the fact that such a lawsuit is needed at all is a sobering reminder of why we must continue to fight to roll back the damaging and unconstitutional imposition of same-sex 'marriage' that has been forced on so many States' citizens by ideologically-driven and unconscionable judges playing to a powerful special interest group.

More than the definition of marriage is at stake: the fundamental contours of our democratic republic, such as the right to self-determination and the rights of religion, speech, and assembly imbricated in the First Amendment, are also at risk of being radically redefined.