Big Government Punishes Family Farm for Refusing to Stage Elaborate Gay Marriage Celebration


The Land of the Free has become the Tyranny of the Depraved:

On August 8, [the New York State Division of Human Rights] fined Cynthia and Robert Gifford $13,000 for acting on their belief that marriage is the union of a man and woman and thus declining to rent out their family farm for a same-sex wedding celebration.

Here’s what happened:

In 2012, Melissa Erwin and Jennie McCarthy contacted the Giffords to rent the family’s barn for their same-sex wedding ceremony and reception. Cynthia Gifford responded that she and her husband would have to decline their request as they felt they could not in good conscience host a same-sex wedding ceremony at their home.

Decent people would understand and celebrate their “marriage” somewhere else. But gay militants are not known for decency. They appear to derive great satisfaction from using the government to force people who are appalled by their perverse lifestyles to participate in them.

The Giffords have owned and operated Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, New York for over 25 years. Like many small farm families, they often open the farm to the public for events like berry picking, fall festivals, and pig racing. …

They also open their home for weddings and receptions. When the Giffords host weddings, they are involved in every aspect of the wedding planning and celebration: they greet and drive guests in their farm trolley, decorate the barn, set up floral arrangements, arrange fireworks displays, and provide catering. As the Human Rights Commission ruling even points out, “the only wedding-related service Liberty Ridge Farm does not offer is providing the official for the wedding ceremony.”

The bridal suite is right in their own home.

As many brides know, planning a wedding requires hours of careful work to organize in order to pull off the celebration–hours during which family businesses operating venues like the Giffords’ actively participate in the weddings they host. The Giffords believe that as free citizens running a business, they should have the right to decline to participate in an event that does not reflect their values.

Unfortunately, New York’s Human Right’s law (Executive Law, art. 15) creates special privileges based on sexual orientation that trump the rights of business owners.

These unjust privileges also trump the fundamental individual right of freedom of association.

Because the Giffords’ family farm is open to the public for business, New York classifies it as a “public accommodation” and then mandates that it not “discriminate” on the basis of sexual orientation.

This means that like any business, they can refuse service for any reason – except to persons of elevated legal status. We are all equal before the law. But under rule by liberals, those who define themselves by the aberrant sexual practices they indulge in are more equal.

[T]he Giffords were not engaging in any insidious discrimination–they were acting on their belief about the nature of marriage. They do not object to gay or lesbian customers attending the fall festivals, or going berry picking, or doing any of the other activities that the farm facilitates. The Giffords’ only objection is to being forced to abide by the government’s views on sexuality and host a same-sex wedding. The Human Rights Commission has now declared this historic belief about marriage to be “discrimination.”

The Giffords must pay a $1,500 mental anguish fine to each of the women and pay $10,000 in civil damages penalty to New York State.

The farce of pretending that the bullies who dragged this innocent family into court are the victims and deserve compensation for “mental anguish” should be too much for even liberals to stomach.

Like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Giffords must also institute anti-discrimination re-education classes and procedures for their staff.

That is, they must pay to have their employees brainwashed to reject their own values – values that have defined civilization for millennia.

The question before all citizens is whether this law and this fine are just. Should the government be able to force family businesses to betray their consciences and participate in ceremonies that violate their beliefs? Should the government be in the business of “rehabilitating” consciences or “re-educating” its citizens to change their moral beliefs about the definition of marriage?

Here I have to disagree. These aren’t the questions, because the answers are obvious.

The question is: how are we going to restore freedom and dignity by liberating ourselves from the twisted tyranny we are living under?

On tips from Troy and Stormfax. Cross-posted at Moonbattery.

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