In the bucolic town of Schaghticoke, NY, Liberty Ridge Farm serves as a setting for family outings and events of all sorts on a family owned farm in the country. They are open to the public for a portion of each year, featuring events ranging from day camps to field trips to a corn maze. And until recently they hosted weddings. That all changed after the owners, Cynthia and Robert Gifford, encountered Melisa Erwin and Jennifer McCarthy, a lesbian couple who approached the Giffords about holding their wedding there. Cynthia Gifford declined, citing her religious beliefs.
The couple tape recorded a conversation with the owners and took their complaint to the New York State Division of Human Rights. Things went downhill quickly from there.
In July, an administrative law judge found the Giffords had discriminated against the couple and ordered fines totaling $13,000—$1,500 mental anguish fine to each of the women and a $10,000 civil damages penalty to the state.