Idaho Man Arrested On Hate Crime Charges After Screaming Racist/Homophobic Slurs At Church Kids

Richard Sovenski has been arrested and charged with a hate crime after accosting a church youth group in Idaho
Richard Sovenski of Idaho

File this under ‘Today in Trump Nation.’

A group of church kids from Spokane, Washington, on a field trip to Idaho were accosted by a man identified as Richard Sovenski at a McDonalds restaurant as they stopped for ice cream.

From The Inlander:

A group of high schoolers from a Spokane youth group traveled to Coeur d’Alene last Thursday to hear a guest preacher. Afterward, the group’s leader, Jose Ceniceros, took them out for ice cream at McDonald’s.

As the group was getting ready to leave Sovenski started hurling racial slurs and profanity at them, Ceniceros says. A woman, who was standing with Sovenski, later told police that the kids were “being rude, dancing and running around causing a disturbance.”

Ceniceros disputes this, and says as they approached the door to leave Sovenski sucker punched Ceniceros and threw him to the ground. Ceniceros began recording Sovenski with his cell phone once they were outside and has shared the video with the Inlander.

“Fuck you, you fucking half-breeds! Get the fuck out of Idaho!” Sovenski is shown saying on video.

“You got a fucking problem, I’m your fucking guy!” he adds. “I will fuck you up in a fucking heartbeat, you little faggot!”

At one point, one of the youth group can be heard saying, “That’s why I don’t come to Idaho,” to which Sovenski screams back, “Yeah! That’s why you don’t come to Idaho! We’re real fucking men here, you bitch!”

Here’s the video – warning: VERY strong language.

The man accompanying Sovenski, who grabs his genitals at the end of the video, is apparently Sovenski’s son.

The local NBC affiliate reports that in interviews with investigators, Sovenski’s wife says she was worried the children might have bumped into her as she’d recently undergone shoulder surgery.

For Sovenski’s part, he told investigators that he didn’t so much ‘punch’ Ceniceros as ‘pushed’ him and that the church youth leader must have “tripped over his own feet.”

Sovenski said he used the strong language to “get the upper hand” in the argument, and believing the comments would “get under their skin.”

And it’s now garnered a hate crime charge with video evidence.

Richard Sovenski (R) charged with hate crime in Idaho

Ninth Circuit Denies Idaho Governor’s Request For En Banc Review Of Marriage Equality Ruling

As Idina Menzel might say to Idaho Gov. Butch Otter: “Let it go.”

In the wake of same-sex marriage coming to Idaho due to a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, Gov. Otter asked the 9th to take another look at the case, this time by a larger panel of judges.

They said “no.”

Via press release from the National Center For Lesbian Rights:

On October 7, 2014, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges ruled 3-0 that Idaho’s and Nevada’s bans on the freedom to marry for same-sex couples violates the U.S. Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection.

On October 9, 2014, the Supreme Court rejected a request by Idaho officials to stay the Ninth Circuit’s judgment, clearing the way for marriages to begin.

Same-sex couples began marrying in Idaho on Wednesday, October 15, 2014.

The Governor of Idaho asked for review of the panel decision by a larger panel of Ninth Circuit judges.

Today’s order denied that request.

The text of the ruling is as follows:

“The panel has voted to deny the petitions for rehearing en banc. The full court was advised of the petitions for rehearing en banc. A judge requested a vote on whether to rehear the matter en banc. The matter failed to receive a majority of the votes of the nonrecused active judges in favor of en banc reconsideration. Fed. R. App. P. 35. The petitions for rehearing en banc are denied.”

Idaho Ordered To Pay Pro-Same-Sex Marriage Legal Team Over $400K

A federal judge in Idaho has ruled that the state must pay the lawyers that successfully fought to overturn the ban on same-sex marriage over $400,000 in legal fees.

From the Idaho Statesman:

“Simply put, the case was neither easy nor ordinary,” Dale wrote. “It is therefore not surprising that plaintiffs employed a team of experienced attorneys to divvy up the many legal tasks.”

While Gov. Butch Otter and his legal team didn’t dispute that the state should pay the lawyers’ fees, they did argue that the lawyers took too much time communicating with one another and charged too much in hourly fees. State lawyers argued the amount, therefore, should be cut in half to $204,049.

Dale disagreed, saying that the complexity of the case warranted frequent communication and extra time to prepare for court appearances.

“Whatever this case lacked in procedural complications or disputed issues of material fact, it surely made up in legal complexity,” Dale wrote. “After all, the case involved constitutional issues of first impression not only in Idaho, but in all district courts in the Ninth Circuit.”

Same-sex marriage has been legal in Idaho since October 15th of this year when the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Judge Dale’s ruling striking down the marriage ban.

Since late October, Governor Otter has spent over $80,000 in legal fees preparing for further appeals.

In that marriage equality is here to stay, if I were a citizen of Idaho I’d be mad at the Gov for wasting tax payer money on an issue that’s settled law.

But hey, maybe that’s just me…

Idaho ACLU and City of Coeur D’Alene Say Wedding Venue Not In Violation Of Non-Discrimination Ordinance

The Hitching Post, a Coeur d’Alene wedding chapel in Idaho, has been the center of a fake controversy this week seeming to pit LGBT non-discrimination ordinances versus anti-gay religious beliefs.

The city of Coeur d’Alene and the Idaho ACLU have issued statements saying the venue would not be violating the city’s nondiscrimination laws should they decline to officiate a same-sex marriage, but the anti-gay Alliance Defending Freedom is killing itself to keep the story alive.

From Boise State Public Radio:

Initially, the city said its anti-discrimination law did apply to the Hitching Post, since it is a commercial business. Earlier this week, Coeur d’Alene city attorney Mike Gridley sent a letter to the Knapps’ attorneys at the Alliance Defending Freedom saying the Hitching Post would have to become a not-for-profit to be exempt.

But Gridley said after further review, he determined the ordinance doesn’t specify non-profit or for-profit.

“After we’ve looked at this some more, we have come to the conclusion they would be exempt from our ordinance because they are a religious corporation,” Gridley explained.

Court filings show the Hitching Post reorganized earlier this month as a “religious corporation.” In the paperwork, the owners describe their deeply held beliefs that marriage should be between one man and one woman.

Leo Morales of the ACLU of Idaho said the exemption makes sense as long as the Hitching Post primarily performs religious ceremonies.

“However, if they do non-religious ceremonies as well, they would be violating the anti-discrimination ordinance,” Morales said. “It’s the religious activity that’s being protected.”

See, what happened was, quietly on October 6th, the owners of the venue changed the wording of the “purpose” of their LLC in preparation of all these shenanigans. Prior to a few weeks ago, the Hitching Post performed non-religious marriage ceremonies. BUT, that wouldn’t make for as good a story as a “religious corporation” would. Check the new language on the company’s business operating agreement:

“The Hitching Post is a religious corporation owned solely by ordained ministers of the Christian religion who operate this entity as an extension of their sincerely held religious beliefs and in accordance with their vows taken as Christian ministers.”

So, the point is – civil weddings are fine with the Knapps. Other religions ceremonies are fine with the Knapps. It’s the gays they have a problem with.

Even the group that helped draft the non-discrimination ordinance language – the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations – has issued a statement to the mayor and city council that the Knapps fall under the religious exemption in the law.

But the thing is, the anti-gay groups WANT there to be a controversy so they can point their fingers and say “See? We told you religious folks would be persecuted!” The Alliance Defending Freedom keeps perpetrating the idea that at least one same-sex couple has tried to get the owners of The Hitching Post to marry them. Except, that hasn’t happened.

So, no one is being persecuted.

Fake story. Fake controversy.

Let’s Check The Facts About Anti-Gay Idaho Wedding Venue “The Hitching Post”

Click to enlarge

The extreme right-wing, anti-gay folks like Bryan Fischer are promoting Idaho’s The Hitching Post as a “victim” of pro-gay policies with the arrival of same-sex marriage to the state.

Coeur D’Alene is one of the few cities in Idaho which include sexual orientation in it’s nondiscrimination laws regarding public accommodation. In other words, if you are a public business, you can’t refuse service to gays and lesbians based on their sexual orientation.

Churches and religious organizations operating as 501(C)3s are exempt from the law. The Hitching Post is not one of those organizations.

The story the haters would like you to buy is that the wedding venue has been “threatened” with jail time and fines for refusing to perform same-sex marriages.

The FACTS are:

• No one has asked the venue to perform a same-sex marriage
• No one has filed a complaint against the venue
• The Hitching Post is not a church; it is a FOR-PROFIT wedding business
• The “ministers” of the venue are ordained for the purpose of performing weddings; they do have “minister” to any congregation or flock
• No one has ordered anyone at the venue to do anything

But if you listen to the Bryan Fischers and Tony Perkins of the world, the two “ministers” of The Hitching Post are about to be drawn and quartered. Take a look at this recent tweet from Bryan Fischer:

Coeur D’Alene City Spokesman Keith Erickson has publicly stated, “We have never threatened to jail them, or take legal action of any kind.”

Facts, kids. Follow the facts.

(via JMG)

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter To Petition 9th Circuit Court for En Banc Re-hearing of Same-Sex Marriage Case

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter (do you love that name or what?) announced today that he’s filing a petition with the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals for an en banc re-hearing of Idaho’s same-sex marriage case.

From the Spokesman-Review:

“I will continue defending Idahoans’ self-determination and the will of Idaho voters who decided that traditional marriage is a core principle of our society,” Otter said in a statement. He said his office will file the petition later today.

An en banc review at the 9th Circuit, because the circuit is so large, would mean that a larger 11-judge panel would re-hear the case, after a three-judge panel made the decision earlier. In smaller circuits, an en banc review is a rehearing by the full court. Otter and Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden earlier requested that 9th Circuit assign a full 11-judge panel to hear Idaho’s case in the first place, rather than a three-judge panel; that request was denied.

Meanwhile, county clerks began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on October 15th. By the time any appeal reaches any court, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples will be married. Can I see a show of hands of the folks who want to tell those couple’s children they won’t be a legal family anymore?

Interestingly, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is not a party to Otter’s petition. But in a statement from his spokesman, Todd Dvorak, Wasden stated that he does plan to file an appeal directly to the U.S. Supreme Court in the coming weeks.

Pat Robertson: Onslaught Of “Homosexual Behavior” Is Being Forced On US

Strange, I don’t remember forcing anyone to have sex with me…

The increasingly erratic Pat Robertson says that the SCOTUS decision to not review same-sex marriage appeals is forcing an “onslaught of homosexual behavior” on the United States.

The clip below then goes into a report about a business in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, which performs civil marriage ceremonies. The business has apparently refused to perform same-sex marriages even though marriage equality is the law of the land in Idaho now.

Being a “for-profit” business and not a church, the Hitching Post cannot claim “religious exemption” from the city public accommodation law which says businesses can’t discriminate against LGBT folk.

Watch Pat run off the rails again as he tells the owners of the business to get out of Idaho.

Same-Sex Marriage Begins In Idaho!

This just makes my day.

Congratulations Idaho!

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter Throws In The Towel On Same-Sex Marriage

Gov. Butch Otter has issued a statement acknowledging his state has run out of options and same-sex marriage will begin in Idaho beginning tomorrow morning at 10AM MDT.

“The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has issued its mandate for enforcement of decisions overturning the Idaho Constitution’s prohibition on same-sex marriage effective at 10 a.m. MDT, 9 a.m. PDT on Wednesday, October 15.

“I continue to believe that the federal courts are mistaken in abandoning the sanctity of traditional marriage and in undermining the will of Idaho voters and each state’s right to define marriage. But we are civil society that respects the rule of law. We have done all we can through the courts for now to defend traditional marriage in Idaho.”

You’ll note the use of “for now” in that last sentence.

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s spokesman, Todd Dvorak, told BuzzFeed News, “Attorney General [Wasden] currently has no plans for filing any legal challenge today or tomorrow.”