New York State Fines Christian Farmers, Conscripts Them in Forced Re-education, Forces Them Out of Wedding Business

September 4, 2014

No, this is not a parody or a prediction; it’s already here.  Via Political Realities, the Daily Signal reports,

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. The Giffords live on the second and third floor of the barn and, when they host weddings on the first floor, they open part of the second floor as a bridal suite.

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. . . .

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.

It gets worse.  The Blaze reports,

A representative for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm, told TheBlaze that in addition to the fines, New York State is forcing the Giffordses to “teach classes to their employees that impose the state’s view of marriage.”

The Giffordses have decided not to host weddings any more.

The story has also been covered by Religion News Service and picked up by the Christian Post, Life Site News, and others.

Not for the first time, it strikes me that there’s a fine line between

(1) what some conservatives see coming in the near future, but people consider “alarmist” or silly and roll their eyes at,


(2) what’s already here, and people act as if it were already totally unremarkable.

6 Responses to “New York State Fines Christian Farmers, Conscripts Them in Forced Re-education, Forces Them Out of Wedding Business”

  1. What a pity that they have stopped hosting weddings. Cutting off their noses to spite their face.

    How wonderful that they are not allowed to discriminate against gay people. Thank God!

    • So much for “Live and let live”…

      • What? Live and let live?

        Telling parents their children are going to Hell? Forcing parents to reject their children? Torturing people in “ex-gay” programmes?

        Businesses should serve customers equally, oot discriminate against some. They would perpetuate hatred against people who have done them no harm, in the name of a false belief which libels God as a homophobe.

        Thank God they have had to pay out this money.

        You know all this. But you whine that you are being persecuted. Shame on you.

      • I haven’t done any of those things.

        In fact, no one (not in the United States or the United Kingdom) is using the coercive power of the state to do any of those things. No parents are being forced to reject their children. No one is being forced into any “ex-gay” programs.

        I’ll do one better than that—we’re not even using the coercive power of the state to stop anyone from doing anything. (In the United States, this has been the case since 2003; I suspect that this argument applies, if anything, a fortiori in the UK).

        In other words, my side wants to leave people free to do whatever they want, including homosexuality. We want a free country.

        Just a couple of years ago, the other side was still assuring us that they just wanted to be left alone, Live and let live, “Why do you care?”—the argument was that our side should agree to changing the legal definition of marriage, because it wouldn’t hurt us or make any difference to us anyway.

        Now the ink is barely dry on several states’ new marriage laws, and already you scoff at the idea of live and let live. You say that you’re not interested in being left alone; you won’t stop until the full coercive power of the state is brought to bear on any remaining dissenters and forces us to enact and celebrate the choices of others, choices we disagree with.

        (Incidentally, you also seem to have suggested that part of what justifies your side’s use of the coercive power of the state against us is that our religious beliefs are incorrect. It sounds, then, as if you wanted the power of the state to enforce your idea of religious orthodoxy, too—how ironic!)

        We wanted a pluralistic, tolerant society in which we could do things our way and others could do things theirs. Your vision allows for nothing but cultural total war. It must continue until one side or the other is annihilated.

        Thanks for at least finally telling us what you want.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        That was a good response. However, there are still some unresolved issues here. Do you believe that states have the power to include discrimination against homosexuals as part of their anti-discrimination laws? (I assume you do not quarrel with the recognized power of states to promulgate laws that prohibit discrimination on the basis of race, gender, etc.), Or do you believe that, while states do have that power, that anti-discrimination laws must include a bona fide religious belief exception? I myself would tend to support a bona fide religious belief exception to a certain extent. That said, it could lead to a slippery slope if business owners tried to abuse the bona fide religious belief exception (such as by discriminating on the basis of race). Such a law would be difficult to tailor.

  2. johnspenn Says:

    This kind of thing is becoming more prevalent. The government has overstepped its constitutional bounds and these poor people are paying a steep price. It only seems as if these situations will become increasingly worse in the future. It’s a dark day for our country.

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