Farm couple sued for discrimination say they were 'set up'
A family who own a farm in upstate New York that hosts weddings on occassion was successfully sued by a lesbian couple when the owners said that their Christian beliefs would be violated if they hosted a ceremony for that particular couple.
The court awarded the plaintiffs $3,000 for "pain and suffering." But the farm couple – Cynthia and Robert Gifford – say that the lesbians recorded their conversation, demonstrating that they knew in advance that their request to have the farm host the wedding would be turned down.
How can there be "pain and suffering" if the plaintiffs knew full well the outcome of their request?
In a brief filed Thursday, attorneys for Cynthia and Robert Gifford argue that the state’s ruling violates the First Amendment, but they also criticize the same-sex couple for what they describe as an “orchestrated set-up.”
“The evidence, however, indicates that Respondents were aware of the Giffords’ beliefs and chose specifically to call and record Mrs. Gifford for the purposes of documenting the Giffords’ policy,” said the brief filed by attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom.
“Such an orchestrated set-up can hardly form the basis for ‘mental anguish’ and suffering,” said the brief, which was submitted to the New York Supreme Court.
The argument illustrates a common complaint among Christian business owners: They are deliberately sought out by gay couples even though most photographers, bakers and florists would be happy to provide services for same-sex weddings.
“The gay community is constantly attacking the church as if the church were singling them out. However, it is the other way around; the gay community is singling out the church,” Patricia L. Dickson said in a Nov. 2 article in American Thinker. “How else do you explain gay couples running straight to Christian business owners as soon as their state lifts the ban on same-sex marriage?”
Gay couples differ on the matter. Some say they would avoid such businesses, and others appear to seek them out in an effort to combat discrimination.
An attorney for the Giffords said it’s clear that some cases are “driven by activism.”
“I think in many of these cases, they know or at least suspect that these are folks with religious objections,” said Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel Byron Babione. “We think that’s the case here, and we think that’s an uncontested fact.”
He argued that the decision of Ms. McCarthy and Ms. Erwin, who took the McCarthy name when they married, to contact and record the Giffords knowing they would object to hosting the ceremony is relevant because “it’s important for the court to understand the context.”
I wouldn't attach such noble motives as "activism" to this attack on Christian beliefs. Why not simple avarice? An Oregon bakery may be forced to pay a gay couple $135,000 in damages for refusing to bake the couple a wedding cake. That's a nice chunk of change for the "activists" to pocket. In that case also, it is believed that the gay couple called around to several bakeries looking for one to refuse them service. Rather than a desire to punish Christian businesses, it could be that these setups are a get-rich-quick racket, designed so that gay couples can pocket substantial amounts of money.
Remember: You will be forced to care, whether you like it or not.
[Editor's note: A previous edition of this post read that the Oregon bakery was forced to pay the $135,000 fine. While an administrative judge did propose this fine, the bakery has not (yet) been forced to pay it.]