Fed. judge allows Idaho chapel lawsuit

Posted at 12:00 PM, Mar 29, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-29 14:00:43-04

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- A federal judge is allowing a lawsuit to move forward that alleges a northern Idaho city's anti-discrimination policy violates the wedding chapel owners' religious rights.

However, while doing so, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald Bush also severely limited the scope of the lawsuit in the ruling on Friday.

Hitching Post owners Don and Lynn Knapp closed their business for nearly a week in 2014 out of fear that the city of Coeur d'Alene would prosecute them for refusing to perform same-sex marriages. The Knapps contend they suffered economic loss the entire time they were closed.

Bush ruled that the Knapps can only file for damages for one day they voluntarily shut down -- Oct. 15, 2014 -- the same day gay marriage became legal in Idaho.

Meanwhile, city officials say that the lawsuit is unnecessary because the chapel is registered as a religious organization, making it exempt from the city's ordinance.