New York State Fines Christian Farmers, Conscripts Them in Forced Re-education, Forces Them Out of Wedding Business
September 4, 2014
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.
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.