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Movement toward gay marriage in the U.S. (a.k.a.
same-sex marriage, SSM), LGBT equality etc.

Part 3 of 3 parts.

2016-JAN: A "freedom-to-discriminate"
court case from upstate New York State
which found in favor of a same-sex couple.
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We use the acronym "SSM" to represent "same-sex marriage."
"LGBT" refers to lesbians, gays, bisexuals, transgender persons
and transsexuals. "LGB" refers to lesbians, gays, and bisexuals.

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This topic is continued from the previous essay.

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poll symbolReactions to the Appeals Court's decision:

  • Melisa and Jennifer McCarthy live in New Jersey, but have ties to the Albany area near the Liberty Ridge Farm. Since the owners of the farm refused to let the couple marry at their facility, the McCarthy''s arranged to be married in a different venue, also near Albany.

  • The American Civil Liberties Association (ACLU) described the outcome of the court case as a: "Win for LGBT Equality: Court Says No To Religious Exemption." James Esseks, writing for the ACLU, referred to the Liberty Ridge Farm's rejection of the McCarthy's request to hold their wedding there:

    "The appeals court recognized this refusal as blatant, explicit discrimination that violates New York State’s law that businesses open to the public must be open to everyone, including LGBT people.  The court made clear that the owners can continue to hold and express their religious beliefs about marriage, but those beliefs do not justify discrimination in how they run their business." 1

    "Anonymous," a reader of the ACLU article who is apparently a conservative Christian, posted her or his comment:

    "See. The perverts are forcing us to accept their debauchery. Even on our own property we have no religious freedom. Left wing judges are forcing us to participate in debauchery. Why does the ACLU hate Christian morality so much? I guess it's because they hate Jesus." 1

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To which other readers posted comments rejecting the opinion of "Anonymous:"

    • Jim Dirks posted: "Bigotry is not religious freedom and being LGBT is not perverse. It is a matter of birth. On the other hand, your self declared superiority, is a choice. A very non-Christian choice to boot."

    • A different "Anonymous" posted: "If property is used in the trade or business, it is no longer private property. It becomes part of a business enterprise and as such is governed by federal and state laws. This means that the business must not discriminate. If they would like to continue to spew their hatred in the name of religion, they may do so, privately. Once you are a business then you have to keep your hatred to yourself."
    • "RMS82" posted: "You don't speak for Christian morality any more than ISIS speaks for Islamic morality. Plenty of Christians support LGBT rights. Even 90-year-old Queen Elizabeth, the head of the Anglican church does.

      The law in New York is clear -- if you accommodate the public on your property, you cannot distinguish on the basis of sex when providing services. A contract between a man and a woman is equal to a contract between 2 women because the men and women are one under the law.

    • A third "Anonymous" posted: "Jesus tells us to love, not judge. I love Jesus and I stand with the ACLU on this. You don't have to invite same sex couples to your home for dinner, but if you open up a business on your property that serves the public, you can't discriminate." 1

  • Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) who represented the farm owners said that Americans:

    "... should be free to live and work according to their beliefs, especially in our own backyards. ... The government went after both this couple's freedom and their ability to make a living simply for adhering to their faith on their own property. ... The court should have rejected this unwarranted and unconstitutional government intrusion, so we will consult with our client regarding appeal."

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  • thumb down imageCo-owner Cynthia Gifford said:

    "Our story is just like every American's story. We need to have our freedom to live and work and have our faith without the unfair government intervention of punishment or interference."

    Webmaster's comment [bias alert]:

    The Giffords, like every other American, are free to believe as they wish, to assemble and worship with others, to hold diverse views on same-sex marriage, same-gender sexual behavior and countless other topics. They are free to join with other like-minded persons to try to change laws regarding discrimination. However, the Human Rights Law in New York State states that public accommodations cannot discriminate against potential customers on the basis of their age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, marital status or disability. 2 Public accomodations include public or private facilities that are used by the general public. Liberty Ridge Farm is a recreational facility open to the public and thus is considered a public accommodation, except of course for any private residences not accessible to the general public. Therefore, the Giffords are free to hold diverse beliefs including the belief that marriage should be limited to one woman and one man. They can promote that concept in the media, on the Internet, etc. But they are not free to act upon their religious beliefs by denying access to potential customers of their business based on the latters' sexual orientation, gender, or any of the other protected classes in the state Human Rights Law. There is a widespread belief that allowing public accommodations to discriminate would profoundly destabilize society.

    Discriminating against others is is the precise opposite to the Ethic of Reciprocity, commonly called the Golden Rule. Christianity and all other major organized religions promote this rule among their followers.

    The Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) is a bill that has passed eight times in the state Assembly, but has never been voted upon in the Senate. If passed, it would add gender identity to the list of protected groups. 3

    Cynthia Gifford and Alliance Defending Freedom attorney James Trainor were interviewed on "The Church Boys" podcase. They give an eloquent defense of the couple's decision.


Click on the red arrow at the top of the image to hear the sound track of the program.

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today. Also, the content of the page on the external web site may have changed since this essay was written.

  1. James Esseks, "Win for LGBT Equality: Court Says No To Religious Exemption," American Civil Liberties Association, 2016-JAN-15, at:
  2. "New York Human Rights Law," Wikipedia, as on 2016-JAN-10 at:
  3. "Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act," Wikipedia, as on 2016-JAN-10 at:
  4. "Christian Farmer Who Was Fined $13,000 for Refusing to Host a Gay Wedding Says ‘Frightening’ Government Ultimatum Should ‘Scare’ Us All," The Blaze, 2016-JAN-19, at:

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How you may have arrived here:

Home > Religious freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > here

Home > Important essays > Religious freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > here

Home > Religious information > Religious freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > here

Home > Human rights > Religious freedom > Freedom to Discriminate > here

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Copyright © 2016 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
First posted: 2016-JAN-22
Latest update: 2016-JAN-22
Author: B.A. Robinson
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