We have covered this issue before on Political Realities. Our government seems insistent on forcing the homosexual agenda down our throats at a rapid pace. We have seen this happen, time after time. Homosexual couples want to get married. They then proceed to accost Christian business owners, attempting to force them to participate in their perverted version of marriage, providing services to a wedding they can not agree with, in good conscience. We are told that this is not really happening, but OK Politechs has a list of several times this has happened. We can now add one more instance of Christian business owners being sued, fined, and otherwise punished for acting on their beliefs. It comes to us from New York.
The Daily Signal – Here’s the back story. 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. As the Human Rights Commission ruling even points out, “the only wedding-related service Liberty Ridge Farm does not offer is providing the official for the wedding ceremony.”
As many brides know, planning a wedding requires hours of careful work to organize in order to pull off the celebration—hours during which family businesses operating venues like the Giffords’ actively participate in the weddings they host. The Giffords believe that as free citizens running a business, they should have the right to decline to participate in an event that does not reflect their values.
Unfortunately, New York’s Human Right’s law (Executive Law, art. 15) creates special privileges based on sexual orientation that trump the rights of business owners. Because the Giffords’ family farm is open to the public for business, New York classifies it as a “public accommodation” and then mandates that it not “discriminate” on the basis of sexual orientation.
Of course the Giffords were not engaging in any insidious discrimination—they were acting on their belief about the nature of marriage. They do not object to gay or lesbian customers attending the fall festivals, or going berry picking, or doing any of the other activities that the farm facilitates. The Giffords’ only objection is to being forced to abide by the government’s views on sexuality and host a same-sex wedding. The Human Rights Commission has now declared this historic belief about marriage to be “discrimination.”
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. If they can’t pay in 60 days, a nine percent interest rate will be added to that total. Like Jack Phillips of Masterpiece Cakeshop, the Giffords must also institute anti-discrimination re-education classes and procedures for their staff.
Now, I know perfectly well what the response will be from the supporters of same-sex marriage. They will say a business owner has no right to insert their religious beliefs into their public life as a business owner. We have heard that line of illogical thinking before. It is how they always justify trying to force a business owner to go against their beliefs. Isn’t it funny how those business owners always seem to be Christians?
Anyone who says Christian business owners have no right to express their religious beliefs in how they conduct their business is far off the mark. Christianity is not something we wear, only when at home or at church. It is part of who we are. To be expected to cast that off, just because we own a business, is ludicrous. To claim it is discrimination to refuse to host or participate in a same-sex marriage because of our religious beliefs is even more ludicrous.
How much longer must our Christian beliefs be assaulted, before we realize Christianity really is under attack in America? They are seeking to marginalize Christians in every way possible. In lawsuits and rulings such as the one evidenced in New York, they are trying to criminalize the way we act on our religious beliefs. Maybe we should remove our heads from the sand and realize just how serious this assault on our religious freedom really is.