Thursday, the New York State Supreme Court affirmed a ruling by the New York State Division of Human Rights that an upstate wedding venue discriminated against a gay couple by refusing their wedding. The case involves Liberty Ridge Farm and its owners, Robert and Cynthia Gifford who turned away a same-sex wedding in 2012. Their lawyers, ADF, have sought to portray the Giffords as simple Christian farmers who rent out their home from time-to-time for special events. One look at the Liberty Farm website belies that notion.
ADF's “case” (in part):
- The farm is not a public accommodation. ADF claimed that New York State public accommodations law is written so that only health care facilities are included.
- The Giffords did not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation on the premise that gay people frequently attend events at the farm. ADF tried to claim that refusing a same-sex marriage is not anti-gay discrimination.
- The Giffords are free to choose which events they would host claiming that they would turn down the Westboro Baptist Church (which I think would make for a very interesting case).
- That the law violates free speech rights claiming that this requires compelled speech. A mountain of case law says otherwise.