A couple who hosts occasional wedding ceremonies on their New York farm have lost an appeal to overturn the $13,000 in fines levied against them by the state’s human rights agency, which ruled that their refusal to host a wedding for two women was discriminatory.
On Jan. 14, the New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Third Department, upheld the agency’s order and the fines, a decision the Alliance Defending Freedom – which represented Robert and Cynthia Gifford – said amounted to confirming, “that the government can punish the Giffords for declining to coordinate a ceremony that conflicts with their conscience.”
The couple lives in a barn they built on their farm and have occasionally hosted weddings on the first floor and the surrounding backyard area, according to ADF.
“After the agency ruled that the Giffords were guilty of ‘sexual orientation discrimination,’ it fined them $10,000, plus $3,000 in damages and ordered them to implement re-education training classes designed to contradict the couple’s religious beliefs about marriage,” a press release issued following the court decision stated.
In order to comply with the order, the couple will have to attend those “re-training” classes or have a “trainer” come to them, according to ADF. (Read more from “NY Court: Farmers to Be Re-Educated, Pay Fines for Not Hosting Homosexual Wedding” HERE)