Idaho City Forces Wedding Chapel To Host Gay Marriages

I’m a supporter of gay marriage. As a proponent of limited government, I think it’s high time we deregulated marriage and let American adults figure out for themselves what sort of religious or non-religious unions they wish to be a part of.

I can’t imagine anything more fundamental to our lives as free Americans as choosing our own life partners.

But what is frustrating is that, in moving away from restrictions on voluntary unions between homosexuals, the public policy pendulum seems to be swinging the other way toward forced participation in those unions. First it was the wedding photographer and the cake baker who were fined for refusing to work for a homosexual couples. Now a wedding chapel in Idaho, in the wake of court rulings legalizing gay marriage in that state, is being forced to either host a homosexual marriage or face the legal consequences:

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.

“The government should not force ordained ministers to act contrary to their faith under threat of jail time and criminal fines,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “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. The city is on seriously flawed legal ground, and our lawsuit intends to ensure that this couple’s freedom to adhere to their own faith as pastors is protected just as the First Amendment intended.”

Sadly, many are cheering these sort of forced participations in gay marriage, and while I can understand the pent-up frustrations of homosexuals over the marriage issue, I wish more of them would understand that forcing participation in gay marriage is as odious as prohibiting gay marriage.

Why can we live and let live? Or we intent on exchanging one sort of tyranny for another?

In our modern society we seem to have conflated the right to access with the right to be served by others, and it’s not just in the debate over gay marriage. In the Hobby Lobby case it was argued that if companies aren’t required to provide women with certain types of contraceptives, their access to those contraceptives was being limited.

Which is as absurd as arguing that our 2nd amendment rights are being limited because our employers do not subsidize our gun and ammunition purchases.

I believe consenting adults should have access to whatever sort of unions they wish. I do not believe that right to access extends to forcing others to recognize or serve those unions.

How can we force the unwilling service of one group of individuals to another and not have what amounts to a sort of slavery?

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com, a columnist for the Forum News Service, and host of the Plain Talk Podcast which you can subscribe to by clicking here.

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