NY Farm Fined $13,000 for Declining Lesbian ‘Wedding,’ Ordered to Prove Staff Training

lr farmALBANY, NY — A New York farm has been fined $13,000 by the state Division of Human Rights for declining to host a same-sex ‘wedding’ on their property two years ago, and has been ordered to train their employees to accommodate homosexual ceremonies despite their Christian beliefs.

Administrative Law Judge Migdalia Peres fined Liberty Ridge Farms in Schaghticoke $10,000 and ordered that $1,500 each be paid to two lesbians who were turned down by the facility, which also serves as the owners’ home. Liberty Ridge Farms was also ordered to provide proof that they have trained their employees not to refuse requests from homosexuals. A poster noting that the business is subject to human rights law must additionally be displayed prominently at the business.

As previously reported, Jennie McCarthy and Melisa Erwin of Albany contacted the 50-acre Liberty Ridge Farms in 2012 to schedule their “wedding” ceremony, as the venue regularly hosts weddings and other outings. However, when the owners, Robert and Cynthia Gifford, realized that the two were lesbians, they informed the women that they could not be of assistance.

“That’s when [Cynthia] said, ‘Now we have a problem,’” Erwin explained. “This is a decision that my husband and I have made. …. [Y]ou can’t do it here.”

McCarthy and Erwin then filed a complaint with the New York Division of Human Rights, alleging discrimination. Others began to write angry messages on the farm’s Facebook page, such as “Gay dollars are just as green as straight dollars.”

However, owner Robert Gifford told reporters that he believes he has a right to decide how he will operate his business, and that it’s not about the money—it’s about morality.

“I think it’s our right to choose who we market to, like any business,” Robert Gifford told WYNT-TV. “We are a family business and we feel we ought to stay down the family path.”

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But Administrative Law Judge Migdalia Peres disagreed, despite the Gifford’s notation that hosting the ceremony would violate their religious beliefs.

“The policy to not allow same-sex marriage ceremonies on Liberty Ridge Farm is a denial of access to a place of public accommodation,” she wrote in her decision.

Peres then fined Liberty Ridge Farms $13,000, citing “the goal of deterrence” for other businesses who might adhere to their convictions and decline to personally accommodate same-sex celebrations.

Jason McGuire, the executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, decried the ruling on Thursday, noting that Liberty Ridge Farms took no issue with serving homosexuals. He outlined that the Giffords only drew the line when the request equated to personal involvement, thus violating the Scripture’s command not to be a partaker in other’s sins.

“Anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, can pick blueberries, ride the trolley, or participate in any of the other opportunities Liberty Ridge Farm provides, but the Giffords drew the line at what they felt was participating in a ‘wedding’ that violated their conscience. For that, they’re paying a price,” he said. “People should not have to violate their religious and moral convictions—especially in their own homes—as the price of doing business. People of faith should not be forced to participate in a same-sex ‘wedding’ when it violates their beliefs.”

McGuire noted that when same-sex “marriage” was legalized in New York in 2011, Christians and others were assured that they were protected under a religious freedom amendment, but now he finds that amendment useless.

“When the bill was passed, we were promised that the religious freedom amendment to New York’s same-sex ‘marriage’ legislation would do the job. We were told it would be the strongest in the nation. Our legislators bought the lie and today every New Yorker is living the lie. Town clerks, justices and businesses are impacted by the Empire State’s religious freedom farce,” he stated. “There is no protection in New York law that did not already exist prior to the bill’s passage. But after gay ‘marriage’ was enacted, clerks are out of work and business owners are facing human rights complaints. That’s the reality we are living today.”

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  • nichole

    Are they going to appeal? This is so alarming! Why don’t some of the LGBT people try this a muslim owned businesses and see how far this goes! I am praying for this couple! Lord help us all!

  • jan

    I would like to know if there is a PETITION set up or a a way to donate to these farmers! God help us if this country is no longer free. God help us.

    Only freedom of speech for gays???

  • Chuck

    1 Corinthians 6:9-10: “Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.”

    2000 years on that has not changed. No legislature, court, or shift of public opinion changes God’s position.

  • Webb

    Praying that God’s judgment on America comes soon.

  • Rob

    They are not declining it b/c the participants profess homosexuality – they are declining to perform the ACT of a male on male wedding, or a female on female wedding. No one should be forced by law to promote an ACT that violates their religious beliefs. You might as well insist a black man who has no problems baking cakes for white people be forced to bake cakes for KKK events.

    And they said “how will homosexual weddings affect you?!” yet here is the real reasons for homosexual weddings: legal enforcement of total support of the act of homosexuality lest you be sued, fired, business shut down.

  • Victor

    There are many homosexuals – same sex couples that are racist, prejudice, and haters, nor do they employ and give private nor public services and facilities towards other homosexuals – and same sex couples of another race nor of any religion.

    HOW ABOUT IF THEY WOULD HAVE ASK A JEWISH RABBI – A SYNAGOGUE FOR THE WEDDING or a MOSQUE? and DENIED what would have been Judge Ms. Peres decision.

    Many Caucasian homosexuals and Caucasian same sex couples despise minorities, Hispanics and African Americans because of the color of their skin. Many minorities, such as Hispanics and African Americans that are homosexuals – same sex couples detest Caucasians homosexuals just because their are white. Their is discrimination within the gay community. Therefore, why has there not been among the gay community a strong voice denouncing their own discriminatory behavior?

    Many Caucasian CEO’s that are homosexuals do discriminate against homosexuals of another race. They do not hire for employment, nor contract, nor mingle, nor participate, nor do they associate in any way, form and or shape with any homosexual that is not from their own same race. They do not even provide services to them no matter the law of sames sex marriage in New York.

    We need to find out more about why there was a “FINE”. If the LIBERTY RIDGE FARM was to charge a fee or mandatory rules and regulations as how to manage and maintain the property free from any damages during the wedding ceremony, this couple would have complained and gone to court. If security was mandatory, they would also have protested, grumbled and whined. A spoiled brat is always a spoiled brat no matter the color, race and sexual orientation and religion.

    It does not matter the responsibilities and mandatory guidelines of renting the farm facility, this same sex couple couple was going to issue a grievance – no matter. Administrative Court Judge, Ms. Peres failed too notice the difference.

    Therefore, be careful, they make come to your doors requesting services. You may get sued. They may as well impose a fine on the Administrative Judge, Ms Peres, if she has family members that are anti-homosexual and or even anti-same sex marriage. I don’t believe Ms. Peres made this decision on her own.

    Judge, Ms. Peres, has to explain (with common sense) what is her thesis on “Public Accommodation”, within the law. In this case, “public accommodation” needed the “facilities” and not the business of a private entity and perhaps should have been given a tax exemption for “public usage and accommodation” if they agreed to a contract. Ms. Peres, does not have the capability to make wise decisions nor strong arguments for the best of all parties.

    Weddings are private, you can invite whomever you want! So, will I get sued or fined if I deny a homosexual to attended my wedding, whether family or not?

    To deny the farm facility is just as the right to deny a homosexual hitchhiker my PRIVATE VEHICLE. So, will I get sued for doing so?!!!!

    Will the Judge, Ms. Peres deny her own PRIVATE VEHICLE TO A HOMOSEXUAL COUPLE OR HITCHHIKER, (that she knows for sure that they are) stranded on a street corner or highway? Some in the public service are just as HYPOCRITE or even worse. They demand rights by violating them towards the religious rights.

    If Caucasians (or vs versa) homosexuals or Caucasian of same sex marriages refuses the facilities of its own business to a homosexual of another race, will Ms. Peres impose a fine? An Hispanic or African American homosexual or couples decline the request based on skin of other homosexuals, What would have been Ms. Peres decision?

    Ms Peres needs more Common Sense. I guess that is the reason she is holding that seat. This was based solely on religion – What religion does Ms. Peres follow?




  • Anonymous

    Great, now the abominable freaks are targeting farms…how long until I am ‘forced’ to use my property for their sham marriage?