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Majority of Hitching Post Lawsuit Challenging Coeur d'Alene Nondiscrimination Ordinance Dismissed


The nearly-two year legal tangle between the city of Coeur d'Alene and the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel appears to be nearing a conclusion.

In 2014, Hitching Post owners Don and Evelyn Knapp said their business was not bound by Coeur d'Alene's nondiscrimination ordinance, which makes it illegal to deny services based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Shortly after a federal court struck down Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage, the Knapps sued Coeur d'Alene, although city officials had no desire to prosecute the Hitching Post for violating the ordinance. The debate came on the heels of some controversial proposed "religious freedom" legislation introduced in the 2014 session of the Idaho Legislature.

Coeur d'Alene officials argued the Hitching Post lawsuit was little more than a nuisance, since the city's ordinance wouldn't include faith-based organizations or businesses.

This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush granted the city's motion to dismiss the majority of the claims. The only piece of the Hitching Post's initial claims that remains is the allegation from Hitching Post owners that they had to shut down and lose business on Oct. 15, 2014 due to the nondiscrimination ordinance.

“It means the case is still alive,” Coeur d'Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley told the Press. “And, as of now, we have not heard anything from the Knapps’ attorneys about what they want to do from here on.”