NY Farm fined for refusing to host gay wedding
New York farmers who host birthday parties and other events must pay a $13,000 fine because they refused to host a gay wedding.
The couple, Cynthia and Robert Gifford, have hosted gay wedding receptions in the past. But because weddings are conducted on the first floor of their house, Cynthia Gifford refused to host a gay wedding ceremony of two lesbians because of her Christian faith.
A judge ruled that the GIfford private residence isn't so private after all.
New York farm owners who rent their facilities for birthday parties and wedding ceremonies have been fined thousands of dollars for refusing to host a lesbian wedding.
Cynthia and Robert Gifford were fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $3,000 in restitution to the lesbian couple after they refused to hold the wedding at their Liberty Ridge Farm near Albany, Religion News Service reported.
When Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin asked the Giffords to use the facility for a 2012 wedding, Mrs. Gifford, a Christian, said she could only host their reception on the farm, but not the wedding. Weddings typically are conducted on the first floor of the Giffords’ home, and Mrs. Gifford argued the lesbian wedding would “literally hit too close to home,” RNS reported.
New York City Administrative Law Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords’ farm, which is also their home, is a place of public accommodation and is therefore subject to New York’s anti-discrimination laws, RNS reported.“The fact that the Giffords also reside at Gifford Barn,” the decision says, “does not render it private.”
The couple must now pay $13,000 in fines and restitution. The Giffords’ lawyer, James Trainor, said they are considering whether to appeal or pursue further legal action, RNS reported.
This is outrageous. Just because there's an occasional weddiing ceremony performed in their house doesn't make it "public." This blurring of public/private lines by the judge is an insidious attack on privacy and personal liberty.
It's probably expensive, but the Giffords should keep fighting this ruling until the courts overrule this miscarraige of justice.