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10/19/2014

Caught ya: Far-right's latest marriage 'victim' edited website to make more solid legal case

by Jeremy Hooper

Back in May, I wrote about a place called The Hitching Post, a Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, business that marries couples for profit. At the time, I opined about how the ordained minister who owns the business has every right to not perform same-sex marriages, if he so chooses. However, if he is going to make that choice, then he is going to lose that right to run a for-profit, "all comers welcome" business that says it marries opposite-sex couples in civil ceremonies, regardless of faith.

And in May, when that business owner, Donald Knapp, first started going to the press with this vow, that's exactly what his business claimed to do. These are the screen caps I used in my initial post:

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 At 2.36.57 Pm
Screen Shot 2014-05-15 At 2.37.41 Pm
[SOURCE]

But get this. In the wake of marriage equality coming to Idaho, the Alliance Defending Freedom is attempting to turn Mr. Knapp and his business into the latest "victims" of the marriage equality push. The ADF is championing a lawsuit against the city of Coeur d'Alene, and to make the case, all involved are claiming that the business is made up of "ordained ministers" who are being told "to act contrary to their faith." They are making it sound like this is an instance of a pastor being forced to perform a religious ceremony in a church, which is a fear they would love to play up as a reality. Several other conservative groups and outlets have run with that spin.

Now here's where it gets interesting. In order to make this case of supposed religious persecution, someone has gone into the very website that I used as basis for my spring commentary and changed the text so that all the mentions of civil weddings no longer appear. Here is how the very same screens that I showed you above look today:

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 At 9.23.30 Pm
Screen Shot 2014-10-19 At 9.22.38 Pm
[SOURCE]

"Ordained ministers" who perform a "traditional, religious ceremony"? And only "for couples who desire a traditional wedding ceremony"? This is revisionist history of the highest order! Now that this business needs to make a case for "religious persecution," they are pretending like they didn't operate in the way that they totally used to operate. They are pretending like civil ceremonies and ceremonies outside of their own deeply held faith were never on the table so that they can make it seem like they have always been convicted in and committed to one specific kind of religious wedding. They have up and changed the rules that they themselves had laid out (i.e. no church, no faith, no problem) so that they can now make the case that they and their far-right spinmeisters are itching to make (i.e. only church, always church; we're the victims).

It's gross! And I caught ya.

***

*UPDATE: The revisionist history is recent, too. According to Google Cache, the "civil wedding" option was still very much intact on October 9:

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 At 9.44.28 Pm
[Google Cache]

***

*FOLLOWUP: But your subjective view of 'real' marriage is factually irrelevant, Ryan [G-A-Y]

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