For years, decades, centuries, we’ve heard the lies that the so-called “religious” folk tell the world about The Gays; that we’re pedophiles, we f**k dogs, we’re mentally ill, diseases, immoral, amoral. We don’t count; we’re bad for families, we undermine traditional marriage. God hates us.
And yet one-by-one those lies have been shot down and disproved, so what does the religious right do next, as marriage equality begins to spread throughout the country? Well, they say that churches will be forced to perform and condone same-sex marriages, until we watched as every state that has embraced equality, through voters, legislatures, judges and courts, has said that no church will ever have to perform a same-sex wedding if they choose not to do so.
So now what does the religious right do? Well, yeah, they lie some more.
In Idaho there are two ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who own the Hitching Post, a for-profit wedding chapel in Coeur d'Alene; for-profit means it’s a business and not a church, remember that. But the Knapps say they cannot marry same-sex couples at their “business” because it goes against their faith; they’ll take straight folks money but no cash from The Gays because, they say, God. And with marriage equality legal out there to Idaho, the good, er, not so good, Donald Knapp said he would close his business — in this economy — rather than let The Gays marry in his little business chapel.
But, at the center of this issue is Coeur d'Alene’s anti-discrimination ordinance and, depending on how the Knapp’s have licensed their business, they would likely would be exempt from the ordinance, meaning they could not, would not, have to perform a same-sex wedding. And yet, while the Knapps will not now have to perform a same-sex wedding, the religious right, have hitched their wagons to the Hitching Post and are using it to make money for their special brand of crazy.
The Alliance Defending Freedom [ADF] is a right-wing Christian law firm created by other hate groups like the American Family Association, the Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ, and Coral Ridge Ministries.
The ADF has a habit of lying, which we’ll get to in a moment, but let’s take a look at their biggest lie; they claim to have an 80 percent winning record in fighting against marriage equality, but have lost a ton of high-profile cases on this issue, including Bostic v. Rainey, which brought marriage equality to Virginia, and, fingers crossed, South Carolina very soon; they lost in Bishop v. Oklahoma, which legalized same-sex marriages in that state; they lost the Elane Photography case, which found that photographers cannot refuse to do business with same-sex couples; and they lost the Perry v. Schwarzenegger case, which ultimately brought same-sex marriage to California.
So, they may win some, but when they lose, they lose big.
The ADF claims the Knapps recently "respectfully declined" to perform a same-sex wedding "and now face up to 180 days in jail and up to $1,000 in fines for each day they decline to perform that ceremony."
And as for the arrest of the so-called pastors? Yeah, that’s a lie, too. There are articles in all sorts of religious papers and sites claiming that the Knapps were forced to shut down their business; that’s a lie. They chose to shut down their business rather than follow the law; they chose to shut their doors rather than hear a gay couple say ‘I do.’
The religious right has also claimed that The Gays — specifically some unnamed gays in Idaho who wanted to marry at the Hitching Post and were declined — have filed a complaint with the city.
That’s a lie. As of right now, as you’re reading this, there has not been one single complaint filed against the Hitching Post. Even the ADF seems to be spreading the lies claiming on their site that the Knapps face fines and jail time; now, that could be true, if the Knapps had been “ordered” to perform a same-sex wedding and refused to do so, but that hasn’t happened.
Let’s be queer: no gay couple has asked the Knapps to perform their wedding; no complaint has been filed. The Knapps, and the ADF, though, aren’t telling that story.
It should also be noted that the Hitching Post has recently changed the wording on their website from this:
We also perform wedding ceremonies of other faiths as well as civil weddings.
The Hitching Post specializes in small, short, intimate, and private weddings for couples who desire a traditional Christian wedding ceremony.
And it gets stickier problem because, when contacted by The Coeur d'Alene Press for comment, Don Knapp said the Hitching Post is not operating as a not-for-profit religious corporation; and he also said that he doesn’t even know the ADF attorney who seems to be presenting himself as their attorney.
Lies.Not a lie, however, is the statement from Coeur d'Alene city spokesman, Keith Erickson, who made the city’s point very clear:
"We have never threatened to jail them, or take legal action of any kind."
Oops. What happened to all those stories of fines and jail for those poor ministers who run a business of marrying people in all kinds of ceremonies, religious and civil?
Lies. That’s all the religious right has left to fight marriage equality. Lies.