The Liberty Ridge Farm Case Is Closed

Robert and Cynthia Gifford of Liberty Ridge Farm have chosen not to appeal a recent court decision punishing them for declining to host and coordinate same-sex “weddings” on their own property.

Albany Update has reported extensively on the Liberty Ridge Farm case over the past several years. As our readers and listeners may recall, a woman telephoned Liberty Ridge Farm in 2012 and spoke with Cynthia Gifford about the possibility of holding a same-sex “wedding” at the Farm. After Mrs. Gifford politely indicated that the family-owned Farm did not host same-sex “weddings,” the woman and her partner—who had secretly recorded the phone call—filed a complaint with the Division of Human Rights. The complaint alleged that the Giffords had discriminated against the two women based upon their sexual orientation.On August 8, 2014, the New York State Division of Human Rights (DHR) found the Giffords liable for discrimination, ordering them to pay $13,000 in penalties and damages. The Giffords appealed the DHR’s decision, but paid the penalties and damages. On January 14, 2016, the Appellate Division, Third Department rejected the Giffords’ appeal, holding that the DHR’s decision and order did not require the Giffords to participate in same-sex “weddings” and did not compel them to express any message regarding same-sex “marriage.” Because of this spiteful and baseless discrimination claim, Liberty Ridge Farm no longer accepts bookings for any wedding ceremonies at all.

Given the three-and-a-half-year ordeal that they have endured, and given that six of the seven Judges on the New York Court of Appeals were appointed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the Giffords’ decision is quite understandable. (The chances that the Court would have ruled in the Giffords’ favor were slim.) New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms wishes the Giffords all the best. We remain outraged that their liberty—the very thing for which their farm is named—has been trampled upon by their own state government.