Don and Evelyn Knapp are ordained ministers who own the Hitching Post wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
According to The Blaze, the Knapps are represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian law firm, which recently claimed in a press release: "Govt tells Christian ministers: Perform same-sex weddings or face jail, fines Officials threaten to punish senior citizen couple – both ordained pastors – if they decline to officiate same-sex ceremonies."
The Alliance Defending Freedom also stated, "City officials told Donald Knapp that he and his wife Evelyn, both ordained ministers who run Hitching Post Wedding Chapel, are required to perform such ceremonies or face months in jail and/or thousands of dollars in fines."
"The city claims its 'non-discrimination' ordinance requires the Knapps to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies now that the courts have overridden Idaho’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that affirmed marriage as the union of a man and a woman," said the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal lawsuit last week and asked for a temporary restraining order against the City of Coeur d’Alene.
However, the City of Coeur d’Alene says it never threatened the Knapps with fines or jail time.
In fact, the city hasn't received any complains about the Hitching Post wedding chapel violating its 2013 anti-discrimination ordinance.
"We have never threatened to jail them, or take legal action of any kind," Coeur d’Alene spokesman Keith Erickson told CDAPress.com.
City Attorney Mike Gridley said he sent a letter to David Cortman, a lawyer with Alliance Defending Freedom, that stated: "Their lawsuit was something of a surprise because we have had cordial conversations with them in the past and they have never disclosed that they have recently become a religious corporation."
The Knapps reportedly filed an LLC operating agreement on Oct. 6 that claimed their wedding chapel is a "religious organization." The Knapps made this filing only 9 days before gay marriage became legal in Idaho on Oct. 15.
Gridley also told the Alliance Defending Freedom in his letter that if the Christian couple "are "truly operating a not-for-profit religious corporation" then they will not fall under the city ordinance.
However, Don Knapp told CDAPress.com that the Hitching Post isn't a not-for-profit religious corporation and added that he doesn't know Alliance Defending Freedom attorney David Cortman.
The Knapps' website originally stated, "The Hitching Post specializes in small, short, intimate and private wedding ceremonies for couples who desire a traditional Christian wedding ceremony. We also perform wedding ceremonies for other faiths as well as civil weddings."
However, after filing their strongly-worded Christian lawsuit, the Knapps' website no longer states, "We also perform wedding ceremonies for other faiths as well as civil weddings."