ADF files lawsuit on behalf of another business owner

Tuesday, July 28, 2020
 | 
Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

natural marriageShould a wedding officiant have the freedom to decide what ceremonies she performs? That is a question for a federal court in Ohio. 

Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a lawsuit on behalf of Kristi Stokes, owner of Covenant Weddings, located in Cuyahoga County.

Stokes believes in traditional marriage and, in addition to officiating weddings, she writes custom homilies, vows, and prayers for wedding ceremonies. Meanwhile, however, Cuyahoga County has a law that would force Stokes to celebrate and participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies that violate her beliefs.

The lawsuit is filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

According to the complaint filed with the court, Stokes chooses which weddings to participate in but that allowance is a "bit too old-fashioned" for Cuyahoga County, which recently passed a non-discrimination law that protects sexual orientation and gender identity.

The complaint continues:

Specifically, because Kristi offers wedding services that celebrate marriage between one biological man and one biological woman, the County says she must also provide the same services for weddings that contradict her beliefs or Kristi commits illegal “discrimination.” Cuyahoga Cty. Code § 1501.02(C). This in turn means that Kristi must officiate same-sex weddings, pray over same-sex marriages, write vows calling biological men women, write homilies using incorrect or gender-neutral pronouns (like Per, Xe, and Ze) or face heavy fines, attorney fees, and injunctions.

"The government shouldn't force people to celebrate events that conflict with their deeply held religious beliefs,” says ADF attorney Kate Anderson, “and that's exactly how this law is operating.”

ADF has famously defended Colorado bakery owner Jack Phillips, who was punished by a far-left state commission after he refused to design a wedding cake for two homosexual customers.

Regarding the similar case of Stokes, Anderson tells OneNewsNow the Christian business owner is influenced by her faith both in her personal life and her business.

“So she must be able to officiate weddings and write for weddings that are in accord with her religious beliefs,” the ADF attorney insists, “including her belief that marriage is between one man and one woman."

 

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