Two ordained ministers, Donald and Evelyn Knapp, who operate a for-profit wedding chapel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho were threatened with a misdemeanor charge for refusing to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. The Knapps responded by filing a lawsuit and a motion for a temporary restraining order against the city in the U.S. District Court for the District of Idaho.
Law professor Eugene Volokh addresses this case in the Washington Post and concludes that “compelling them to speak words in ceremonies that they think are immoral is an unconstitutional speech compulsion. Given that the Free Speech Clause bars the government from requiring public school students to say the pledge of allegiance, or even from requiring drivers to display a slogan on their license plates (Wooley v. Maynard(1977)), the government can’t require ministers – or other private citizens – to speak the words in a ceremony, on pain of either having to close their business or face fines and jail time.”
Volokh also believes that the Knapps can be exempted under the Idaho Religious Freedom Restoration Act as there is not likely a compelling governmental interest in requiring them to perform same-sex ceremonies.