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Cuyahoga County Settles Anti-Discrimination Suit Against Covenant Weddings

The settlement is subject to federal court approval.


The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports on a proposed legal settlement between Cuyahoga County and an evangelical minister, Kristi Stokes, who operates a business, Covenant Weddings, which only offers wedding services "that celebrate marriage between one biological man and one biological woman." In 2018, the County prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation by business, and Stokes sued the county to prevent enforcement of the ordinance against her.

From the Plain Dealer story:

The proposed settlement said the county cannot compel Stokes and her business "to offer officiating and writing services against their sincerely held religious beliefs."

The tentative settlement indicates one of the key reasons why: Neither Stokes nor her business has a storefront or office in the county "that could be considered a place of public accommodation." . . .

"Even if [Stokes and her business] could be considered a place of public accommodation, the accommodation clause does not mandate or force Kristi Stokes, or any other minister, to officiate or solemnize weddings against their sincerely held religious beliefs," the proposed agreement said.