Friday, October 31, 2014

Kootenai County Republican Central Committee Backs Hitching Post With Tuesday Resolution

Posted By on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 4:24 PM

The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee has drafted a resolution that challenges Coeur d'Alene's LGBT nondiscrimination ordinance by supporting a North Idaho wedding chapel's decision to refuse to wed same-sex coupes on religious grounds. 

Nondiscrimination ordinances in nine cities across the state make it illegal to discriminate based on sexual orientation or gender identity in areas such as housing, employment and public accommodations. A lawsuit filed by The Hitching Post, as well as a host out out-of-state religious groups, challenged Coeur d'Alene's ordinance, claiming it infringes on the owners' right to freedom of religious practice. 

In the resolution, passed Tuesday evening, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee voted to support The Hitching Post's fight with the city and other business owners who "conduct their closely held businesses in clear conscience according to their religious beliefs, including, but not limited, to bakeries, photographers, caterers and flower shops."

The resolution goes on to repudiate nondiscrimination ordinances in general for impinging on First Amendment religious protections. As quoted by the Spokesman-Review:

"Nondiscrimination ordinances and statutes shall not forcibly coerce support for marriages and/or celebrations which are repugnant to the religious beliefs of business owners or any individual."

The language of the resolution reflects a general connection between such ordinances and so-called "religious liberty" bills introduced in the 2013 Legislature, as well as the state of Idaho's fight to protect its constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.

Voter approved in 2006, the ban was struck down in May by U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale, and after legal maneuvers that reached as high as the United States Supreme Court, the first Idaho same-sex couples received marriage licenses this month.

While the city of Coeur d'Alene has decided not to pursue action against The Hitching Post under the ordinance, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter went on to petition the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for an en banc review of its decision to uphold Dale's judgment, citing The Hitching Post's high-profile conflict with Coeur d'Alene as one of the harms posed by same-sex marriage. 

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