New York Couple Fined $13,000 for Refusing ‘Gay Marriage’ Ceremony to No Longer Host Weddings

lr farmALBANY, N.Y. — A couple in New York state who was fined $13,000 and ordered to re-educate their staff to accommodate same-sex ‘weddings’ has decided to close their wedding venue rather than violate their religious beliefs.

As previously reported, Robert and Cynthia Gifford own Liberty Ridge Farms in Schaghticoke, a 50-acre facility that hosts a number of family-friendly attractions. In 2012, Jennie McCarthy and Melisa Erwin of Albany contacted the facility to schedule their “wedding” ceremony, as the venue regularly hosts weddings and other outings, but when the Giffords 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, a Roman Catholic, 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,” he told WYNT-TV. “We are a family business and we feel we ought to stay down the family path.”

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

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“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.

But James Trainor, attorney for the Giffords said that the couple employs homosexuals and otherwise provides services to those involved in same-sex relationships.

“Liberty Ridge Farm … has employed gay people and has conducted events for same-sex couples,” he told reporters. “The Giffords’ objection was to hosting and participating in the wedding ceremony itself and not to providing service in general to lesbians.”

Nonetheless, Peres 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. $1,500 of that amount is be paid to each the lesbians who were turned down by the facility, which also serves as the Gifford’s 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 was additionally to be displayed prominently at the business.

Because of the order, the Giffords have now decided to close the wedding venue altogether, while keeping other parts of their farm operational, in order to avoid violating their religious beliefs.

“Going forward, [Cynthia and Robert Gifford] have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their property (other than the ones already under contract),” Trainer told reporters this week. “Since the order essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions, even though it will likely hurt their business in the short run. They will continue to host wedding receptions.”

As previously reported, a Christian-owned trolley company in Maryland likewise decided last year to discontinue its wedding services to avoid any legal entanglements. Matt Grubbs of Discover Annapolis Tours informed the Baltimore Sun that he will lose $50,000 a year because of his decision, but said that he would rather lose money than dishonor God.

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  • Deborah Solesky

    The scriptures asked the question, when the Lord returns will He find faith on the earth? Looks to me like He will. God bless all who stands against this tyranny.

    • Mary Waterton

      True enough Deborah. Some will have faith. But I can’t help but feel that “homosexual marriage” wouldn’t be happening if a majority of Americans were born-again Christians. Christianity is slowly being replaced by a 1960’s doping-smoking peace-and-free-love religion. I think that’s what Jesus was commenting upon as He looked into the future … the prevalence of false doctrine in the Last Days. What could be more false than to say that God is love and homosexuality is love, and therefore it’s all okay?

  • Mary McDonald

    I read that in North Dakota the 10 commandments display was given historic monument protection. This after a godless bunch sought to have it removed due to their claim its existence violated the establishment clause in the constitution. Bravo! Christians have a protection now in that precedent so that crosses, commandments, etc… that exist in this nation founded on Christan principles can not be demolished by those opposed to religious freedoms.

    Now we need something that allows that same kind of protection with regard to Christian values to protect against perverse sins that demand Christians abdicate their faith in order to condone homo-sodomy.

    New York Division of Human Rights sadly doesn’t believe religious rights are human rights.

    You’ll also notice that homosexual ultra-leftist anti-religious activists pursue cases against people they think don’t have the finances to fight them.
    What needs to happen is the Christian law centers in America organize to fight back in every state. Take the cases on a contingency basis and sue the homosexual ultra-leftists after they file a law suit against an entity like New York Division of Human Rights.
    The charge? Civil rights violations against a protected class; Christians. Because religion IS a protected class.

    Homosexuals are not entitled to equal rights in marriage. They are not equal to straights. Biology and their perverse sexual behavior that they proudly parade in America is proof of that.

    Christians are being targeted because sodomites think they can’t fight back. We have to stand up and prove they’re wrong!Or else their next target is going to be our churches! Suing to force clergy to marry them as a matter of their civil right to do so.

    Fight now or weep later.

    • natwilliams

      well said mary! i believe we are living in the last days. the increase of perversion, the beheadings that are taking place. christians must stand strong & hold on to faith. we are to love the person & hate the sin. homosexuality is nothing but perversion, a life style of lies, lies from Satan & lies to oneself to believe that it is good. there is nothing good about a lifestyle of sin. they are not equal to a straight couple. if we were to ‘accept’ their sinful lifestyle that would condemn us & go against our belief & trust in God. we can not support the ways of the world & expect to be accepted by God at the same time. we need to keep this situation in prayer as well as every aspect of the christian faith, that we all stand strong in faith & do not let the immoral run over us, taking our rights away. pray for those that are lost that they may see the truth & turn from their wicked ways.

  • warriorbride

    I just don’t understand, do gays just TARGET CHRISTIANS, so that they can make 3,000 dollars total and see them CLOSE their doors ? I think that its their sole purpose to go to christan places and start something, GET A LIFE FOR GOD’S SAKE !!! I mean, then they wonder WHY, we hate their attitudes and actions, because its like they could go to a GAY pastor and have the wedding done there at his church? but NOOOOO they HAVE to PICK a christian site, to SUE this place, in order to get the place shut down and to get EVEN, GAYS ARE EVIL VINDICTIVE and JUST GREEDY people and they WONDER WHY christians HATE THEM FOR ??? CHRISTIAN hate their EVIL UGLY ways !!! Its just like demons, working in the gays, to do this, I said that I would rather close my buisness then to have to serve gays, I DON’T understand WHY christian businesses don’t have RIGHTS AT ALL ? if its for RELIGIOUS purposes , THAT WE HAVE TO BE FORCED to ACCOMODATE gays, when its against the WORD of GOD and against our beliefs and FAITH??? But its the WORLD THAT WE LIVE IN AND satan RULES it !