For twenty-five years, if you wanted to marry,
The Hitching Post Chapel was ready to go
A for-profit chapel, with no need to tarry,
You wanna say “Yes”? The Knapps wouldn’t say “No”
They advertised services, Christian or civil,
They welcomed all faiths (just as long as you pay)
But as of this month, watch their attitude swivel—
Their faith won’t allow them to cater to gays.
The couples lined up to get married for money
Some thirty-five thousand in twenty-five years
Two dozen a week, but then last week… it’s funny,
The Knapps are too Christian to cater to queers.
The Chapel had eagerly followed their profit
Salvation was never the goal of their search
They’ve climbed up the cross, but it’s time to get off it
You’re running a business; don’t call it a church.
In a story that is a case study in spin, the owner/operators of Hitching Post Wedding Chapel are either being martyred for their Christian beliefs, or cynically trying to manipulate the system by labeling a commercial business a religious institution.
Since 1989, the Knapps have performed weddings, for profit, at the Hitching Post Wedding Chapel (wedding licenses available just across the street). I say “for profit”; they are very inexpensive (though “gratuity to minister accepted”), but they averaged over two dozen weddings a week over their 25 years, and one weekend’s receipts (not including gratuity) dwarf what I have made in 3 years here (good thing this isn’t my livelihood!). It is, and is recognized as, a business. As a business, it cannot discriminate. Which was never a problem, until a week or so ago. From the thinkprogress link:
Indeed, the Hitching Post is a for-profit business, but with help from ADF [the Alliance Defending Freedom], the Knapps have been gearing up for this challenge for some time by redefining their business in more religious terms. In fact, Hitching Post completely reincorporated with an entirely new business certificate just last month, which was authorized by Michael S. Oswald, an ADF attorney. Along with the new business was a new Operating Agreement, dated October 6, 2014, which enshrines all of the religious values offered in the complaint as part of the business. They similarly added a new Employee Policy and Customer Agreement stipulating that the Hitching Post will only perform unions “between one biological male and one biological female.”
Jeremy Hooper notes that back in May when it was first in the news, the Hitching Post Chapel’s website said that the Knapps offered a “traditional or civil ceremony” for weddings and that they also would “perform wedding ceremonies of other faiths.” Though the website still said as much as recently as October 9, 2014, the old language has been scrubbed and the Hitching Post now only offers “a traditional Christian wedding ceremony.”
To be fair, until then, the law didn’t interfere with their right to be bigoted assholes.