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Is Your Church Breaking Public Accommodations Laws?

To answer this question, churches must be well-versed in federal, state, and local laws.

Is Your Church Breaking Public Accommodations Laws?

The potential effect of public accommodations laws on churches is detailed in Hitching Post Weddings v. City of Coeur d'Alene, 172 F.Supp.3d 1118 (D. Idaho 2016). In this case, a married couple (the "plaintiffs") are Christians and ordained ministers. In 1989, they purchased a marriage chapel (the "Hitching Post") in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, which they operated as a for-profit corporation. In 2014, they executed the "Operating Agreement of Hitching Post Weddings, LLC," which states, in part:

The Hitching Post is a religious corporation owned solely by ordained ministers of the Christian religion who operate this entity as an extension of their sincerely held religious beliefs and in accordance with their vows taken as Christian ministers. The purpose of the Hitching Post is to help people create, celebrate, and build lifetime, monogamous, one-man-one-woman marriages as defined by the Holy Bible… ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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Posted:
  • June 14, 2017

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