Hitching Post Lawsuit Gains National Attention - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Hitching Post Lawsuit Gains National Attention

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Hitching Post sues Coeur d'Alene Hitching Post sues Coeur d'Alene
COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho -

A federal lawsuit has now come under the national spotlight, as the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel is suing the city of Coeur d'Alene.

In 2013, the city adopted an anti-discrimination ordinance that the owners of the Hitching Post say forces them to marry same sex couples, something they say violates their religious beliefs.

The city is hoping to file a response to the lawsuit asking to have it dropped next week, with a city spokesman telling KHQ the city already considers the wedding chapel exempt under the ordinance. However, representatives with Alliance Defending Freedom, the legal firm representing the Hitching Post say if the business is indeed exempt, they want more detailed language in the ordinance.

"The thing is, that the city wants to take the position that the hitching post is exempt from the ordinance, that's great, but they need to clarify that in writing," says Jeremy Pedesco a senior legal counselor with ADF.

According to Mike Gridley, the Coeur d'Alene city attorney, only businesses that classify themselves as religious organizations are exempt under the ordinance, and after the Hitching Post filed under Limited Liability Company (LLC) on October 9th, Gridley says that's the point that they became a religious organization. However, Pedesco says the Hitching Post is not a religious organization, rather a for-profit business that operates under the religious beliefs of the owners, and says if the city considers the business exempt under those terms he wants that language in the ordinance.

Gridley says there have been talks to clarifying the ordinance, but there have been no efforts to do anything right now.

"If a complaint is filed against an entity here in Coeur d'Alene and we investigate it and there's proof that they are a religious corporation or association then they would be exempt," says Gridley.

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