Gifford v. Erwin

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Description:  Cynthia and Robert Gifford live in a barn they built on their farm and occasionally hosted weddings on the first floor and the surrounding backyard area. Cynthia served as a wedding coordinator for those events and did everything but officiate the ceremony. On Sept. 25, 2012, Melisa McCarthy called Cynthia, inquiring about the use of the farm for her upcoming same-sex ceremony. Because of her Christian faith’s teachings on marriage, Cynthia politely made it clear to McCarthy that she and her husband don’t host and coordinate same-sex ceremonies but left open the invitation to visit the farm to consider it as a potential reception site. Instead, McCarthy and her partner filed a complaint with the Division of Human Rights. 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.

Next step for NY farmers told they can’t obey faith in own backyard

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

The following quote may be attributed to Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton regarding upstate New York farm owners Robert and Cynthia Giffords’ decision not to appeal the ruling of a New York court in Gifford v. Erwin that punishes them for declining to coordinate same-sex weddings in their own backyard:

“Americans should be free to live and work peacefully according to their beliefs, especially in our own backyards. The government went after this couple’s constitutionally protected freedom and their ability to make a living simply for adhering to their faith on their own property. This kind of governmental coercion should disturb every freedom-loving American no matter where you stand on marriage. The court should have rejected this unnecessary and unjust intrusion on the Giffords’ basic civil rights. After much consideration, the Giffords have decided not to appeal the ruling and are evaluating how to best run Liberty Ridge Farm under a legal regime that disregards their convictions.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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Additional resources: Gifford v. Erwin

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Previous news releases:

  • 2016-01-14: NY court: Farmers can’t obey their faith in their own backyard
  • 2015-11-20: NY farmers: Can we obey our faith in our own backyard?
  • 2015-06-25: NY farmers: Don’t force us to violate our faith in our own backyard
  • 2014-10-02: NY farmers to court: honor our religious freedom

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