Self-manufactured “victim” alert: Owners Robert and Cynthia Gifford have decided that their catering and event venue, Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke New York, will no longer host wedding ceremonies. They took this action to avoid having to host same-sex marriage festivities.
Their ADF attorney, James Trainor, is quoted saying:
Since the order essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions, even though it will likely hurt their business in the short run.
Nevertheless, the facility still advertises for weddings on their website. Furthermore, they possibly have weddings that were previously booked.
This stems from a complaint made by a lesbian couple last fall after they were denied service. In a radio interview at the time Cynthia Gifford said:
I just felt uncomfortable. Maybe I made a mistake in my initial response
to them. I am willing to have a meeting. It is kind of against my
religious views, but if they have an interest, they are more than
welcome to come out and look at the property.
That doesn’t sound like a religious zealot unless she was cynically trying to deflect criticism (as well as the pending legal action). This incident went to trial before the New York State Human Rights Division and the Giffords were fined $13,000 earlier this month.
Based on their website and conjecture it would seem that weddings represent a big chunk of their business. The should simply post a perfectly legal sign that they do not approve of same-sex marriage. If any gay couple is then stupid enough to give the Giffords their money they can suffer through the ceremony. After all, this is just business. Hosting a same-sex wedding for money is neither consent nor approval of something that they do not like. Would they deny service to a bar mitzvah — something that is directly contrary to their religious beliefs?
By the time the right wing gets finished with this story the Giffords will be simple farmers who are devout Christians. The truth is that they run a large catering business. I am inclined to think that they are more idiotic than bigoted. If they respond to my email I will update this post.