N.Y. Court Upholds $13,000 Fine Against Farm Owners Who Refused to Host Gay Wedding

A New York appellate court upheld Thursday a $13,000 judgment against the owners of Liberty Ridge Farm for refusing to host a same-sex marriage on their property.

Cynthia and Robert Gifford, who own the 100-acre farm in Rensselaer County, violated the state’s Human Rights Law when they declined for religious reasons a September 2012 request by Melisa McCarthy and Jennifer McCarthy to rent the venue for their wedding ceremony, the court ruled.

After being hit with a complaint, the Giffords were fined $10,000 by the state Division of Human Rights and also ordered to pay the McCarthys $1,500 each in damages for “the emotional injuries they suffered as a result of the discrimination.”

In affirming the earlier decision by the state Department of Human Rights, the New York Supreme Court Appellate Division said that the agency’s determination “does not require them to participate in the marriage of a same-sex couple.”