Court: N.Y. farm owners discriminated against lesbian couple


Photo: Liberty Ridge Farm

Photo: Liberty Ridge Farm

A New York court last week ruled that the owners of a farm used as a wedding venue violated the state’s nondiscrimination law when they turned away a lesbian couple seeking to hold their wedding ceremony there.

Robert and Cynthia Gifford, the owners of Liberty Ridge Farm, north of Albany, claimed their conservative Christian beliefs opposing same-sex marriage were justification for refusing to host the 2013 wedding of Melisa and Jennie McCarthy. The Giffords appealed an initial ruling from the state’s Division of Human Rights that found them guilty of discrimination and fined them $13,000, reports KSN.com. They have claimed that being forced to host the wedding violated their First Amendment rights.

The Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court found unanimously in a 5-0 decision that, although the Giffords are free to express their religious beliefs, their rights were not being violated by offering up their farm as a place of public business. Thus, they cannot violate New York’s state law prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination.

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