Farm owners fined for refusing to host LGBT+ wedding

As reported by The Blaze, owners of Liberty Ridge Farm, Cynthia and Robert Gifford, refused to host the wedding of lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, from Newark, New Jersey.

According to the source, McCarthy and Erwin requested to have their wedding at Liberty Ridge Farm, but were turned away. However, the Giffords did state that the couple could have their wedding reception at their farm, but did not feel comfortable with having the ceremony because of their faith in Christianity. The couple, unhappy with what they felt was discrimination based on their sexuality, filed a claim with the New York Human Rights council.

In terms of the case Hallowell writes,

A judge subsequently ruled in their favor in the case New York State Division of Human Rights v. Liberty Ridge Farm, rejecting the Giffords’ argument that the family owns a private business that is legally permitted to issue such refusals. Judge Migdalia Pares, who argued that the fact that the owners live on the premises does not mean that the business is private in nature, ruled that Liberty Ridge Farm is a public accommodation as it rents its space and regularly collects fees from the public. As a result, the judge found that the couple must abide by anti-discrimination regulations under New York’s Human Rights Law, ruling that the Giffords must pay a $10,000 fine and give an additional $1,500 each to McCarthy and Erwin, Religion News Service reported.

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It is not yet known if the Giffords will appeal this case, but McCarthy and Erwin hope that this will prevent future cases of discrimination against LGBT+ couples by businesses.