Culture In NY: Saying no to 'gay wedding' puts your business at risk
New York's homosexual marriage and anti-discrimination laws are already taking a toll on Christian business owners, one of whom is currently before the state's Human Rights Commission.
Robert and Cynthia Gifford own the 100-acre Liberty Ridge Farm, a business in Schaghticoke that hosts various events for children and for adults – including weddings. Jason McGuire of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms explains the problem the Giffords face revolves around that.
"Unfortunately, a lesbian couple approached them seeking to have their wedding on the property," McGuire tells OneNewsNow. "I believe it was a setup as they recorded the phone conversation with the Giffords, and the Giffords told them no – and now the Giffords family, the farm owners, are facing a human rights law violation."
The Giffords argue their farm is a private business on private property, and they believe their constitutional freedom of religion – specifically their belief that marriage is between one man and one woman – trumps state law.
"They have religious convictions against same-sex marriage," McGuire explains, "and when New York passed its gay marriage law [in 2011] it required that businesses would perform and allow to be performed these same-sex ceremonies on their properties.
"But for the Giffords this is a matter of religious convictions as this is their home – and we don't believe their religious convictions should have to be thrown out the window just because the state law has changed."
A decision is expected from the administrative law judge within a few weeks and at that point either party can seek an appeal in civil court.
According to The Associated Press, the lesbian couple is no longer interested in using Liberty Ridge Farm as a wedding venue. Said one of the lesbians: "We just want to know that the policy is being changed to fit the laws so this doesn't happen to anyone else."
The lesbian couple filed the complaint against the Giffords on October 11.source