A Christian couple that owns a family farm in New York is pushing back after the state fined them $13,000 for refusing to host a same-sex wedding on their property.
According to The Daily Signal,
Cynthia and Robert Gifford — the owners of Liberty Ridge Farm in Albany — filed an appeal Thursday with the appellate division of the New York Supreme Court. The Giffords claim the court did not keep in mind their rights under the Constitution and their religious beliefs in making its decision to fine them.
"Mr. and Mrs. Gifford have been married for over 30 years, and were both raised in religious families," the appeal reads.
"The Giffords believe that marriage is a religious union of one man and one woman before God. This belief about marriage is a 'core value' of the family's faith upon which they operate their family business.
"Because of their religious belief that marriage is a religious union of one man and one woman before God, and because of their direct participation in the wedding ceremonies on their property, the Giffords do not host wedding ceremonies for any union other than one man and one woman. The Giffords' religious beliefs about marriage, however, do not prohibit them from hosting other events (such as receptions or parties) for same-sex couples."
According to the appeal, Melisa McCarthy contacted the farm and eventually spoke with Cynthia Gifford about hosting her wedding with her female fiancee. Gifford said the family's religious beliefs prevented them from hosting the wedding ceremony at the farm, but that the couple was welcome to have its reception there.
The phone call, according to the appeal, was secretly recorded by the lesbian couple, who was apparently aware before they made the call that the Giffords did not host same-sex weddings on their property.
A legal battle ensued after the lesbian couple filed a discrimination complaint
and a judge last summer ordered
the Giffords to pay $10,000 to the government and $3,000 to the same-sex couple.
Cynthia Gifford told The Daily Signal, "We're not hateful people. We just believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and we do not want to hold a [same-sex] marriage ceremony here on our family farm because the state tells us we have to do it."
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