Living by 'biblical values' costs anti-gay couple $13,000

Living by 'biblical values' costs anti-gay couple $13,000 January 20, 2016

A while back we reported that Catholic farmers Cynthia Gifford and her husband Robert, above, were fined $13,000 by New York State’s Division of Human Rights for refusing to host a gay wedding on their property.
The couple who own Liberty Ridge Farm, appealed the decision, but the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court last week upheld the penalty, which included $10,000 in fines and $3,000 in damages.
The decision, Cynthia Gifford claims, is “frightening” and should scare every American.
She told The Church Boys podcast on Friday that she is a Christian who simply wishes to live by biblical values.

A government that tells you what you can’t say is bad enough. A government that tells you what you must say and punishes you if you don’t is frightening.
This kind of power should scare all of us no matter where we stand on the issue.

Gifford also recounted on the podcast how the legal battle first began back in 2012.

In 2012, a woman called inquiring about using our farm for her wedding. It was a short phone call. It became clear to me that the event was going to be a same-sex wedding.

Noting that this was the first time that they had been asked to host a gay wedding ceremony, Gifford explained why she declined.

We welcome all people to the farm and gladly respect and serve all for a variety of events, but because wedding ceremonies are inherently religious, a sacred event, Robert, my husband, and I, as Christians, cannot coordinate the same-sex wedding ceremony. This would violate our faith and conscience.

Gifford told Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, a lesbian couple from Newark, New Jersey, that they were welcome to host their reception on the grounds, but not the ceremony, an arrangement that the couple were reportedly not interested in.
After the phone call ended, the Giffords soon learned that they were being sued by the couple. McCarthy and Erwin, angry over the rejection, had taken their grievances — and audio from their conversation with the farm owners that was reportedly secretly recorded — to New York’s Division of Human Rights, claiming that they were discriminated against as a result of their sexual orientation.
A judge agreed and the farm owners were fined $10,000 plus an additional $3,000 in damages for violating anti-discrimination regulations under New York’s Human Rights Law; the state legalised gay marriage in 2011.
In the end, Gifford said that she and her husband found themselves in an extremely difficult situation.

We had the ultimatum of: ‘Host all weddings and go against our beliefs or don’t host any wedding ceremonies’. So we chose the latter.
We can’t be free to conduct our business within our beliefs. My story as an American farmer is the story of every American’s freedom to live and work consistently with their faith and without the fear of unjust government interference or punishment.

The “persecution” of the Giffords  and folk of their ilk could well serve as a clarion call for people to join Islamic State.


That’s the view of the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Patriarch Kirill, who, according to this report, has partially blamed an increased acceptance of homosexuality for the rise of Isis.

Kirill claimed he was not surprised that some Muslims are flocking to Isis’ quasi-religious state as a way of escaping “godless” societies that celebrate events such as Gay Pride.
In an interview published on the Church’s official website, Kirill said:

[Isis] is creating a civilization that is new by comparison to the established one that is godless, secular and even radical in its secularism.
We can have parades for the sexual minorities – that is supported – but a million French Christian protestors defending family values are broken up by police.

Kirill said because the “godless civilisation is reaching maturity”, it should come as no surprise that those who are opposed to liberal, secular ideas end up joining terror organisations.

If you call non-traditional relationships a sin, as the Bible teaches and you are a priest or pastor, then you risk not only your ability to serve but you may be sent to prison.

Hat tip: Chandlerclaytona (Gifford report) and AgentCormac

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  • Martin Hatchuel

    How dare Ms Gifford make any pronouncements at all? She’s defying Christian teaching:
    1 Timothy 2:12 – New International Version: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to assume authority over a man; she must be quiet.”

  • Laura Roberts

    Giffords: sad day for you if you think your business responsibilities conflict with your religious beliefs. Stop whining and go into another line of business. It’s not that hard.
    For example: I used to work for a company that provided decent pay and exceptional job security. However, I learned that they were cheating their customers, so I left at my earliest opportunity. That company continues to this day. I still consider them unethical, but since I don’t work there, my conscience is clear. See how that works?
    Oh, and stop pretending the decision is about what you say. It’s not. It’s about you discriminating against someone else for childish (and now, unlawful) reasons.

  • Pingback: Living by ‘biblical values’ costs anti-gay couple $13,000 | SecularNews.Org()

  • AgentCormac

    Worryingly, Kirill also thinks that a caliphate is a jolly good idea because ‘It is a society centered around faith and God where people follow religious laws’. I somehow doubt he’d think it was such a utopia if he fell into the hands of ISIS.

  • Ellis-e-yum

    Patriarse Kiril is an evil opportunist power hungry abomination. Murderous atrocities committed for the gratification and blood lusting enjoyment of fundamentalist islamofascist thugs is less immoral than following a harmless basic human impulse? Really? Well you christian dimshit, Isis would smash your skull and tread your brains into the sand with the same relish with which they destroyed the oldest christian monastery in Iraq. Let’s not forget why there is so much prejudice and hatred in the world … the pious put it there in the very first place to endow themselves with divine influence and power and wealth. And they are still doing it today. Kirin is an evil ponce … a cheap rent boy with Putin’s dick up his rectum.

  • L.Long

    The “…she is a Christian who simply wishes to live by biblical values….” automatically makes it impossible for her to do so, as she shows herself as a liar which is against biblical values!!!!!! Also she can discriminate all she wants….she can declare her area a private club that you have to join with rules being you must be a xtian BY HER DEFINITION!!!! and cater to members ONLY!!!!

  • Cali Ron

    Another case of the religious playing the persecution card. I fail to see what a couple having a wedding on their commercial property that the couple are paying to use has to do with their religious beliefs. Are they renting out the premise for events or is it a church holding services? Are they ordained, the property owned by a religious denomination or is it a business.
    What would jesus do? Well the “loving” jesus would say love them, show compassion and say “judge not, lest ye be judged”, but the other jesus would show them the wrath of god by sentencing them to an eternity in the lake of fire. Clearly, god suffered from bipolar disorder and was in need of medication. Just think, if we could get him on the right meds millions of people could be spared eternal damnation. God and allah both need to chill!

  • Newspaniard

    Hmmm… Reading between the lines, I would say that the Lesbian couple were looking for someone to sue, probably for the publicity but definitely for the fat payout. They could, quite easily, have said, “Oh,well, we don’t want to go somewhere we are not wanted.”, and gone to somewhere where the business (for that is what it was) was welcomed. The bigoted couple probably played it wrong too as they seem to have been badly treated by the law as, surely, any business has the right to refuse entry to anyone who is not under contract?

  • cnocspeireag

    And Rosa Parks could simply have moved to the back of the bus.

  • AgentCormac

    Spot on!

  • Cali Ron

    @cnocspeireag: What AC said!

  • Laura Roberts

    @cnocspeireag: +1
    Also, they had no way of knowing beforehand whether they’d get a “fat payout”. They might have lost the case (recall the Hobby Lobby decision). Given the effort involved (and risk of repercussions), I don’t consider $13,000 “fat” in any case. My guess is, they were thrilled finally to be able to marry legally, then the Giffords decided to be petty little bitches, so this couple got pissed off and went to court to try their new legal muscle.
    Good on ’em, I say. In their place, I’d like to think I’d do the same.

  • John

    Ms Gifford is clearly not telling the whole truth. She says she and her husband are farmers. Then, what are they doing hiring out their farm for marriage ceremonies and/or receptions? The truth is that she is not solely a farmer but is a business-person, in which capacity she and her husband have to abide by the law that states that all commercial goods and services must be equally available to all, regardless of sex, gender, colour, belief, etc.
    To be involved in legal trading means complying with commercial law.

  • L.Long

    If the gay couple were after a fat pay out then good luck to them…sue for all they are worth. Teach the bigots a monetary lesson since they are incapable of any other kind!!!!

  • chrsbol

    The Giffords deserved the fine, bigots that they are but is it normal to record telephone conversations?

  • Broga

    “Living by biblical values.” This is a favourite tactic of Christians who assume, often correctly, that these values will be unexamined but accepted as good. Good is an abstract to which anyone can attach whatever they think is good. This ploy continues to serve Christians well.
    Equally successful – although not here – are selected extracts from the bible which avoids all the horrors contained in other sections.

  • John

    chrsbol: My guess is that it is not normal to record telephone conversations.
    I would further guess that another person previously got the same message but had not recorded the conversation. I imagine it was decided to have another couple telephone later and to also record the conversation.
    The bigots fell into the trap and have now paid the price. Good job too!
    Newspaniard: discriminating against anyone on the grounds of sex, gender, race, age is invariably unlawful under any English-language system of law.
    This includes commercial law too. The Giffords were business people and they must have known their discrimination was unlawful. They were stupid.

  • 1859

    Had they lied and said ‘Sorry we’re fully booked for the next two years’ – they would have survived. Instead they chose to tell the truth and thereby exposed their illegal discrimination to the world. They feel hard done by because they simply told the truth, but when the your truth is against the law don’t be surprised at the consequences. Maybe, just maybe, they might begin to question why their particular brand of ‘truth’ was criminalised in 2011.

  • 1859

    As for the guy with the big, white ear flaps- another religious,unwashed arse hole peddling the same old bigotry – best ignored.

  • Cali Ron

    Recording telephone conversations without consent of both parties is illegal in California and 10 other states, but New York’s wire tapping law is a one party consent law so the recording was legal in that state.
    In the court of Cali Ron (where the only law is common sense and common decency to all) there is no rational reason to deny them getting married on their property except intolerance of their sexual orientation. Verdict: Guilty of being an asshole!

  • I remember when same sex marriage was first openly discussed in my lifetime. I said that the critics were wrong, that no one would be forced to conduct or host a same sex wedding. Turns out I was wrong.
    I am in favor of legal access to the government’s legal and economic advantages gained by marriage for both same sex and hetero couples. Conversely, when I see same sex couples using the government to force people and individuals to cater to their wedding, host their wedding, or in other ways ‘condone’ their wedding, it is all the more clear why many people don’t like homosexuals and atheists.
    There are thousands of bakers and places to hold weddings in the USA. If one says no, go to another. You might even give me a call – I’ve conducted many weddings, and the first one I did was for a same sex couple, and I did that when it was not protected by the law. I’m willing to challenge wrong-headed laws, but not in a wrong-headed way.
    The Giffords employed openly homosexual staff. They had female to male trans empoyees, during transition. They hosted same sex wedding receptions. But because they dared to say no to these two women, they’ve been fined, they have to stop all weddings, and the loss of their income has resulted in one of their staff being laid off.
    I didn’t become an atheist to get rid of one sacred cow only to take on a different sacred cow. These two women could have readily voted with their dollars and gone elsewhere. Instead, they acted as crybullies and still didn’t get what they wanted (unless publicity and money is what they wanted, not marriage).

  • John the Drunkard

    Do they let non-Popish couples marry on their farm? What about non virgin brides? Do they demand a certificate from a gynecologist? And the Divorced!
    There are 613 Commandments to follow, if you really want to ‘do’ Leviticus and Deuteronomy. Why does THIS happen to be the one they want to dig in on?

  • barriejohn

    Trevor Blake: What would you have said had they refused to host a party for a mixed-race or black couple? I’m a libertarian, but they weren’t being asked to conduct a religious ceremony against their principles, nor to take part in the celebrations themselves. I agree with John the Drunkard as well; let’s examine all brides to ensure that they are virgo intacta, and examine all ministers for deformities:
    Then the LORD spoke to Moses, saying,”Speak to Aaron, saying, ‘No man of your offspring throughout their generations who has a defect shall approach to offer the food of his God.For no one who has a defect shall approach: a blind man, or a lame man, or he who has a disfigured face, or any deformed limb, or a man who has a broken foot or broken hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf, or one who has a defect in his eye or eczema or scabs or crushed testicles'”.
    That should weed out a good few!

  • Stuart H.

    So ‘Biblical values’ are worth exactly $13,000?
    Nice to know, and a handy answer next time a religiot tells us you can’t put a price on such things.

  • Laura Roberts

    @CaliRon: absolutely correct that recording conversations is legal in other states. A friend of mine in Colorado recorded multiple conversations with his (utterly insane religious whack-job) ex-wife to bolster his custody battle. I don’t know if it helped, but I thought he was smart to do it.