Author Topic: [New York] State fines upstate farm that rebuffed same-sex wedding  (Read 473 times)

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Offline jmyrlefuller

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http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/albany/2014/08/8550785/state-fines-upstate-farm-rebuffed-same-sex-wedding

by Jimmy Vielkind
August 14, 2014

Two farmers in rural Rensselaer County must pay $13,000 in fines and restitution after they rebuffed a lesbian couple who inquired about getting married at their farm, a state agency ruled.

Jennifer McCarthy and her now-wife Melisa (nee Erwin) found Liberty Ridge Farm, which overlooks the Hudson River in Schaghticoke, several miles north of Troy, on the internet and hoped to rent it for their wedding ceremony and reception. Cynthia Gifford, who along with her husband offer a corn maze, market and events at the 100-acre farm, told Melisa McCarthy her same-sex marriage would cause “a little bit of a problem” because the Giffords have a “specific religious belief regarding marriage,” according to court papers.

McCarthy and her wife brought a complaint in conjunction with the New York Civil Liberties Union, saying Liberty Ridge Farm was a public accommodation and the Giffords' actions were unlawfully discriminatory under state law.

While the McCarthys never entered into a rental contract for the facility, an administrative law judge ruled Gifford “implicitly rescinded the invitation” when she learned Melisa McCarthy's spouse-to-be was also a woman.

“The policy to not allow same-sex marriage ceremonies on Liberty Ridge Farm is a denial of access to a place of public accommodation,” Judge Migdalia Pares wrote. She said the Giffords should pay $3,000 to the women—$1,500 each—for “mental anguish each suffered as a result of respondents' unlawfully discriminatory conduct.” Citing “the goal of deterrence” as well as the Giffords' clear stance against same-sex weddings, Pares fined the Giffords an additional $10,000.

Pares' order was adopted formally last week by Human Rights commissioner Helen Diane Foster.

Same-sex marriage was legalized in 2011, after a push from Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo. Many Republicans and conservatives oppose the law, arguing it infringes on private businesses. Democrats have always responded to these charges by noting existing laws for any public accommodation prevent discrimination against interracial couples, say, or couples of different religions.

The Giffords' lawyer, James Trainor, said the couple is “evaluating” a possible appeal, and said he was surprised the ruling to did not incorporate the U.S. Supreme Court's recent Hobby Lobby decision, in which justices said a closely-held company could deny some forms of contraception to its employees because they conflicted with the religious beliefs of its owners.

“We're disappointed that neither the judge nor the commissioner even mentioned the Gifford's … First Amendment rights, including the right not to be compelled to participate in a religious ceremony which violates their own religious beliefs,” Trainor wrote in an email. He said the monetary penalty is a “significant burden” to the family that is “disproportionate to the single interaction between the parties - a telephone call of several minutes duration.”

NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman hailed the decision.

“Marriage should be a time of celebration, not discrimination,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. “This ruling sets an important precedent protecting the rights of LGBT New Yorkers, and will help ensure that businesses understand New York law and treat all patrons with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Here is the full decision: http://bit.ly/1mNyGOf
« Last Edit: August 14, 2014, 04:32:50 PM by jmyrlefuller »
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Re: [New York] State fines upstate farm that rebuffed same-sex wedding
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2014, 05:26:44 PM »
What if you hold deep religious views that certain races are not worthy, in the eyes of YOUR God, and you don't have to serve them?

Or you hold deep religious views, that polygamy is just wonderful, in the eyes of YOUR God?

Or you hold deep religious views about eating meat on Friday. Whoops. For years the public schools served EVERYBODY meat on Friday, to accommodate Catholic children's' beliefs. Then the Church just u and changed their beliefs.

Case in point: The Mormon church changed their views, to conform to civil law. The Catholic church changed their views for what I have no idea.
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Offline jmyrlefuller

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Re: [New York] State fines upstate farm that rebuffed same-sex wedding
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2014, 07:07:06 PM »
What if you hold deep religious views that certain races are not worthy, in the eyes of YOUR God, and you don't have to serve them?
The Biblical commands against sodomy date back thousands of years, prior to Western civilization, and are common to Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs. The commands not to associate with sexual sinners date back to at least the first century with the apostle Paul, and presumably even earlier.

In contrast, I know of no religion that states that "certain races are not worthy...and you don't have to serve them." Besides, it's an apples to oranges scenario: we're not talking about refusing someone because of their ethnicity, an innate characteristic. We are talking about refusing to house an act-- a same-sex marriage celebration-- that is against Christian doctrine.

By using the courts to force this organization to serve them, in their effort to invoke the 14th Amendment they are ironically violating its fellow amendment, the 13th, which prohibits “involuntary servitude” except as punishment for a crime.
Proud supporter of the Free Conservative Resistance

"Just because people in positions of authority are stupid, it doesn’t mean you have to go along with it." —Arlo Guthrie

The enemy of my enemies may not be my friend, but it's still fun watching him make my enemies squirm.

Offline Atomic Cow

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Re: [New York] State fines upstate farm that rebuffed same-sex wedding
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2014, 07:07:49 PM »
What if you hold deep religious views that certain races are not worthy, in the eyes of YOUR God, and you don't have to serve them?

Or you hold deep religious views, that polygamy is just wonderful, in the eyes of YOUR God?

Or you hold deep religious views about eating meat on Friday. Whoops. For years the public schools served EVERYBODY meat on Friday, to accommodate Catholic children's' beliefs. Then the Church just u and changed their beliefs.

Case in point: The Mormon church changed their views, to conform to civil law. The Catholic church changed their views for what I have no idea.

So in other words, you think the government has the right to hold a gun to a Christian's head and shout "OBEY!"

Sounds like what you'd think.
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Offline Fishrrman

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Re: [New York] State fines upstate farm that rebuffed same-sex wedding
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2014, 09:10:32 PM »
The real lesson here is to illustrate how some states are becoming "the new slavery states", vis-a-vis those other states where "traditional freedoms" are [at least for a while yet] maintained.

The only solution for traditionalists is to get out of the new slavery states, and flee to the traditional freedom states.  While there remain a few left. (I realize that's not easy if one's livelihood is tied up in farming)

I wonder if at some point, they'll all be gone ??

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Re: [New York] State fines upstate farm that rebuffed same-sex wedding
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2014, 12:15:52 AM »
The Biblical commands against sodomy date back thousands of years, prior to Western civilization, and are common to Christian, Jewish and Muslim beliefs. The commands not to associate with sexual sinners date back to at least the first century with the apostle Paul, and presumably even earlier.

In contrast, I know of no religion that states that "certain races are not worthy...and you don't have to serve them." Besides, it's an apples to oranges scenario: we're not talking about refusing someone because of their ethnicity, an innate characteristic. We are talking about refusing to house an act-- a same-sex marriage celebration-- that is against Christian doctrine.

By using the courts to force this organization to serve them, in their effort to invoke the 14th Amendment they are ironically violating its fellow amendment, the 13th, which prohibits “involuntary servitude” except as punishment for a crime.
And polygamy was in those Biblical traditions deeply, going back. But the US government effectively overrode religion, in favor of civil laws.

Likewise many states override "an eye for an eye" by outlawing capital punishment.

We are a nation of civil laws, not religious laws. People are free to follow their religious beliefs and teachings, so long as they don't violate civil laws.
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Offline aligncare

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Re: [New York] State fines upstate farm that rebuffed same-sex wedding
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2014, 12:37:29 AM »
So in other words, you think the government has the right to hold a gun to a Christian's head and shout "OBEY!"

Sounds like what you'd think.

Yes, Americans are forced by law into "right thinking."  By statute, we must behave one way (though we may believe another).

I seem to recall from my history class where that's called "tyranny."
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