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US: Farm fined $13,000 for refusing gay weddings to stop hosting all ceremonies

Joseph McCormick September 2, 2014

A New York state farm which was previously fined for refusing to host a same-sex wedding has now said no couples will be allowed to get married there.

it will allow all couples to hold their receptions there.

Owners of the Liberty Ridge Farm were previously ordered to pay $13,000 (£7,800) in fines and restitution to a same-sex couple for refusing to host their wedding.

The couple, Jennifer and Melisa McCarthy, filed the complaint in 2012 against Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghicoke, NY, owned by Cynthia and Robert Gifford.

Now the farm’s owners have said they will allow any couple to hold a wedding reception there, including gay and lesbian couples, but that wedding ceremonies, which traditionally took place in the Giffords’ home, will no longer take place.

“Going forward, [the Giffords] have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their property (other than the ones already under contract),” Alliance Defending Freedom allied attorney James Trainor told TheBlaze in a statement.

“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,” Trainor continued.

According to court documents,the McCarthy’s were told their marriage would cause “a problem” because the owners have a “specific religious belief regarding marriage.”

The McCarthy’s filed suit, stating Liberty Ridge Farm was a public accommodation and that the owners’ actions violated state laws protecting against discrimination.

In the decision, a judge wrote: “The policy to not allow same-sex marriage ceremonies on Liberty Ridge Farm is a denial of access to a place of public accommodation.”

The judge fined Liberty Ridge Farm $10,000 (£6,000) for violating state non-discrimination laws. Another $3,000 (£1,800) was fined for the “mental anguish each suffered as a result of respondents’ unlawfully discriminatory conduct.”

A bakery in Pennsylvania recently refused to serve a lesbian couple for a cake to celebrate the renewal of their vows.

Earlier this month, a Christian wedding boutique in Pennsylvania refused to serve a lesbian couple.

More: Jennifer McCarthy, Liberty Ridge Farm, Melisa McCarthy, New York, US, USA

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