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Chillingly, same-sex marriage activists have already used this tool to punish a church at the state level—successfully.In 2007, New Jersey revoked a tax exemption previously granted to the Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association, a United Methodist church/ministry, after it refused to allow a same-sex couple to perform a "commitment ceremony" in the church's beach-front pavilion.In that case, Donald and Evelyn Knapp ran a for-profit wedding venue called The Hitching Post which briefly caught the city attorney's attention as a possible offender under the local public-accommodations ordinance as same-sex marriage became legal in Idaho by court order in 2014. The couple faced jail time and fines if they declined to perform a same-sex ceremony.But in the face of public outrage and some legal intervention from ADF, the city attorney backed away from prosecuting them.Over the last few years, we've chronicled many of these stories in and on our website. And wedding vendors could soon be joined by other Christians running non-wedding service businesses in the near future.
In those jurisdictions, legal traps will abound for churches and ministries trying to serve their communities, and wise leaders will protect their members by planning ahead.
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) can help; see here to learn more.