In 2013, the city of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, passed an ordinance adding sexual orientation and gender identity to its public-accommodation law. For months, city officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife, Evelyn, both ordained ministers who ran the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, would be required to perform same-sex ceremonies or violate a city law that threatened them with months in jail and thousands of dollars in fines. After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit overturned Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman, the Knapps even closed the Hitching Post for several days out of fear of being prosecuted.
Just one day after they reopened, the couple received a request to officiate a same-sex wedding ceremony. They politely declined and quickly filed a pre-enforcement challenge against the city ordinance that threatened them. The lawsuit and accompanying public outcry caused the city to back down and promise not to enforce its law against the Knapps.
ADF eventually secured a judgment against the city for the time the Hitching Post was closed and had lost income. And based on the city’s promise that it would not enforce the ordinance against the Hitching Post going forward, the rest of the lawsuit was dismissed. Because of their lawsuit, the Knapps were thus free to speak and operate their business consistent with their religious beliefs going forward.