Christian business owners forced to pay large fine after refusing to host gay wedding ceremony

Earlier this summer, Glenn and TheBlaze reported on the plight of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood, Colorado after its owner, Jack Phillips, refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple citing religious beliefs. In December 2013, Judge Robert N. Spencer ruled Phillips must “cease and desist from discriminating” against same-sex couples – despite his religious beliefs – or pay fines.

In June, Colorado State’s seven-member Civil Rights Commission reinforced the December ruling – deeming Phillip’s refusal to serve an act of discrimination and ordering the owner to halt the practice.

Now, a New York family is facing a similar issue. Cynthia and Robert Gifford, owners of Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, New York, have been fined $13,000 for refusing to allow a gay wedding ceremony to take place on their property in 2012. This refusal came one year after New York State legalized gay marriage.

According to Religion News Service, the Giffords told Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, a lesbian couple from Newark, New Jersey, they were welcome to hold their reception on the property but not the actual wedding ceremony – citing their Christian belief that marriage is between a man and a woman.

The Gifford’s attorney told RNS the couple employ gay staffers and have hosted events for homosexual couples in the past, but the marriage ceremony itself – which would either take place on the first floor of the Giffords residence at the farm or an adjacent property – was something they were not comfortable with.

“If you’re the gay couple, and they say, ‘Okay, you can have the reception. We just don’t want the wedding itself to be here,’ why would you force that issue,” Pat asked on radio this morning. “Why not go someplace that doesn’t have a problem?”

McCarthy and Erwin took their case the New York’s Division of Human Rights and emerged victorious. As TheBlaze reported, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled the business cannot be characterized as private because Liberty Ridge Farm is a public accommodation as it rents its space and regularly collects fees from the public.

As a result, the Giffords must pay a $10,000 fine and give an additional $1,500 each to McCarthy and Erwin.

“Come on. This is insane… Why can’t you just take your business elsewhere,” Pat asked. “It’s so ridiculous that we’ve turned into a society where you have to do things that go against your religious conviction. That’s wrong. That’s unconstitutional. You shouldn’t have to do that.”

Listen to today’s radio show below:

  • tonybigs

    Gay bullies looking for a revenue stream. No wonder the state legalized the lie of so-called “gay marriage”.

    • Meathead

      Yep, the two a-holes got $1,500 each and New York gets $10,000. Why does anyone live in that cesspool of a state unless they are insanely liberal?

      • Dennis Mirante

        I am stuck in this shithole and can’t wait to get out.

        • Farbar

          New York is a nice place to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

    • pawley

      I still cannot believe this story, can’t get my mind around it. Jesus come quickly.

  • $118683104

    I wouldn’t marry them either.

  • Itachi

    interesting to see what will happen when a story with the roles reversed make headlines

    • Russell Smith


    • Bert_1

      You don’t have to wonder. There is already a perfect example of that very thing:

      The President of Chick-fil-A voiced his opinion that he did not support SSM. He supported traditional marriage. He didn’t call for any violence or anything against homosexuals, he just said that he supports traditional marriage only. The result? Riots, destruction of personal property, death threats and all kinds of nasty garbage.

      A few weeks after that happened, the CEO of Starbucks publicly announced his support for SSM. The result? A few Christians boycotted Starbucks.

      No need to wonder what would happen if the roles were reversed.

      • for_the_one

        There were also hour long waits at Chik-Fil-A restaurants around the country, as the vast majority fully supports the traditional definition of marriage. Don’t recall any rioting.

  • Guest

    They should push this issue in a muslim owned business. Then they could have their wedding ceremony followed immediately by their beheading ceremony.

    • Meathead

      Got my vote!

    • Tim F

      That’s dark.

    • James

      Dude, too soon.

  • Meathead

    They should use “” to raise the money to pay the fine and the two a-holes.

  • Sail Away

    Legal robbery don’t sweat the gay people that part just starts the hating we have more than enough of that.
    Robbery at it’s finest I tell ya .
    The system is in place .

  • smitty1007

    It’s all part of the grand Communist plot! “A house
    divided cannot stand” Abe Lincoln and Matthew 12:25

  • Eric Waldron

    Where is this country headed?

    • TJB

      Down the sewer ….

      • Eric Waldron

        unfortunately, you are correct.

  • Today22011

    This madness by the gay lobby must cease. The rights of others are being trampled.

    • pawley

      I know why should others rights be overlooked. while these evil perverts profit.

    • Yo Mamma

      Don’t throw the lesbians in with all the anti-gay stuff

  • Russell Smith

    I don’t get it really. I mean they would rather ruin someones life because of their religious beliefs rather than find a place that is more accepting of their life choices. I mean what kind of moron would want to go some place that does not agree with their life choices anyhow? Oh wait, these morons.

    • pawley

      I must admit they are smart, they got some money to help pay for a marriage, that is legal, God help us and Jesus come quickly

    • Tim F

      I know some gay friends of mine that even think this is stupid.

  • Shemp

    For future reference: I certainly hope a private business doesn’t have a “problem” with their AC or heating system during a government mandated event on their premises…this would be so tragic…

  • beerman42

    With recent ruling in suprem court, Hobby Lobby, they need to appeal to federal court. Next time they will be smarter.

  • Ricky Whitley

    You know Glenn. Anti-discrimination laws are to protect people. These businesses should have been fined. Would you support their right to refuse service to women or blacks on religious grounds? You talk about peace and love in one article, then turn around and support discrimination in the next. Which side is it? Hate and intolerance or love and compassion? Pick one and stick with it. You cant have both.

    • D. Kiiskila

      Actually, just because they don’t agree with or condone gay marriage doesn’t mean it’s “hate and intolerance”. You’re making a false equivalence just like any other liberal will to win an argument. You’re using emotion instead of logic and fact.

      • Ricky Whitley

        Actually, you’re wrong. Keeping someone from using a product or service because YOU do not like their lifestyle (which is legal) is discrimination. A business cannot discriminate AND accept public funds like this one. Keeping someone from eating at the white table, not allowing women inside, and not letting gays use you facility are all forms of discrimination That is a fact and “because the bible told me so” is a song lyric; not an excuse to send coloreds to a different bathroom or gays to the pasture down the road.

        • FellowPatriot

          Our religious freedoms are protected by the first amendment. If ones faith and beliefs are that SSM is a sin and partaking in and facilitating in that sin is against your faith and beliefs is not discrimination. It is the exercise of liberty, freedom, and protection of what our constitution guarantees us. If a couple practiced an open sexual marriage and that was against your faith and belief would you want to be forced to have sex with their marriage partner or face a fine? Having an open marriage sexually is also a choice of lifestyle. We Christians should not be prosecuted because of our faith and beliefs. The entire agenda of SSM is a lie of satan to destroy the God blessed union of one man and one woman to procreate as God intended when He created us in His image.

        • asybot

          What do you mean “accept” public funds? If I read the story the only public funds were the fine paid to the NY gov. and the 2 guys (well to me they are).

        • Fred

          Boy, you really are a good white leftist troll, aren’t you.. There is something called religious freedom. Remember THAT? So, do you live in an all black area or are you yet another fake white leftist who only uses them when you need them?

        • pawley

          any business should have the right to refuse service for any reason.

        • Hy Alldredge

          You’re not addressing D. Kiiskila’s point. You’re now making an argument based on the legal definition of discrimination, which is not at issue here. First there was false equivalence, and now a red herring. What logical fallacy will be next, I wonder?

          • baddgolfer

            so it is never ok to abstain from something b/c to abstain is discrimination – talk about fallacy

    • Paul_Xavier

      The Giffords don’t seem like hateful people. They offered to hold the reception, They have gay employees. Unless there is more to the story it seems that they were polite. It’s a matter of obedience. It’s not just the Bible that tells us what to do. We have a God who loves us, and is speaking to us. I do not understand why he has forbidden homosexuality. It isn’t mentioned. I know that he would not forbid something unless it was harmful to us Because I know that God loves us. Not just because, he finds something offensive. What God finds offensive is anything that harms his children. It’s not about a right to our beliefs. It’s about surrendering to God whom we trust. We must be obedient, not just for our own sake. We cannot condone something God has claimed is harmful, or we are harming others. If you could understand that he has shown me, that many things I thought were right, turned out to be harmful. I discard my own ideas of right and wrong, because God has taught me that I don’t know the difference without him. Call it illegal fine, But I am definitely not hateful. Call me stupid fine, but I’m not hateful. The Gifffords don’t seem to be either.

  • Greg Barnhart

    As I have said before, it is their right to refuse customers just as you see signs in restaurants and other businesses that say we reserve the right to refuse to serve anybody. Why doesn’t the gov’t go after these people? Sorry to all you PC people that think gay is alright. I still believe it is wrong and sick. I am tolerant of them as long as they stay away from me

  • Tree Rat

    The same-sex couple should “cease and desist from discriminating” against Jack Phillips personal religious beliefs. How are his personal faith based issues of any less value than the personal sex issues of a gay couple? That couple should respect HIM enough to go somewhere else for their business. Respect is a two-way street! (UNLESS you’re a Christian, of course.)Then you are open to all types of assault ! And of course, ANYTHING said about or done to a Christian couldn’t possibly be discrimination ! Not in today’s liberal thinking society. Wake up America ! The “thought police” will be coming after YOU sooner than you think. Everyone has the right to “just say no”, especially when it is their OWN business. If you are muslim, and you don’t like pork, GO EAT SOMEWHERE ELSE. If you are gay, and you want a gay ceremony, go to a gay friendly business. You want OUR respect? It goes both ways! Respect our beliefs, and stop trying to make trouble with every situation, and we who believe differently will do the same for you. It’s really very simple. Why must you make it so complicated? R -E-S-P-E-C-T.

    • Robert Carsella

      Tree Rat…you nailed it right there!!! ^^^

    • Paul_Xavier

      The issue here isn’t respect, it’s what to expect. We are supposed to expect to be treated poorly for our beliefs. God’s providence in our country gave people relief from this for many years, so we’re unfamiliar with suffering for it. The word hasn’t changed. We are still supposed to expect suffering.

    • webone

      Because it’s discrimination based on religious belief… The couple with the farm believes same sex religion is wrong according to their religion… The lesbian couple doesn’t share that belief. The couple who own the farm are discriminating against them because of that difference in belief. They are running a business open to the public and advertised that way. That brings it under the State of New York anti-discrimination laws… The same way it would if it were the other way around and the lesbian couple was refusing a wedding because the couple getting married were christians. You can’t very well expect much respect when you think your beliefs and rights are the only ones that matter…

  • landofaahs

    Seriously I would make all sales a contract since no 2 would be alike. I would include stress as a major consideration of price. Frankly, I would have to add $50,000 off the bat to any gay wedding and I would state it that if there was a breach of contract I would take them to court for pain and suffering.. Contract work would allow this in my opinion just as attorneys are free to set their price before taking a case based on any reason what so ever. Why can lawyers refuse business and bakers can’t?

  • landofaahs

    Glenn is really stretching here. He wants to get along so bad but then he says people who would force cake bakers to work for them against their will as “Insane”. Glenn how do you reason with insane people? I don’t want to get along with them except for they leave me alone and I will leave them alone. Outside that, I am their enemy.

  • grevious channing

    I just don’t understand some of these business owners. I own 3 small hotels and 2 of them have meeting and banquet venues. We do NOT host homosexual meetings or wedding receptions. The difference between my business and this poor baker is that I don’t feel the need to challenge the homosexuals in public. They are ruthless in their vitriol and won’t be satisfied until the offending business is closed down. We simply tell them that we won’t be able to help them on the date that they requested. Nothing more than that. We don’t lie and tell them that the space isn’t available or tell them directly why we can’t help them. We just tell them that we can’t help them on that particular weekend. They find another venue and no one gets their panties in a wad. It’s worked for over 20 years and I see no reason to change it. Why go head to head with homosexuals that have the LIBTARD press on their side? Suicide.

    • pawley

      Instead of refusing to have the event the business owner should have overcharged.

      • Farbar

        In some business that’s called an “aggravation charge” and I’ve used it often. I just don’t call it that out loud. It either scares off the customer or, if it doesn’t, then I make more money. Win, win.

        • webone

          Interesting idea – maybe I can use it the next time a christian tries to rent from me — a sort of “christian rent.” like the pet rent some places charge to allow pets… It wouldn’t much more than double the rent and security deposit.

      • Paul_Xavier

        Aren’t we supposed to love those who hate us?

    • pawley

      exactly, outsmart them.

    • Hy Alldredge

      Very good point, and I’ve often wondered the same thing. I have a feeling most people approach it like you do, especially now with the high-profile cases that have been in the news. I have a feeling it’s a matter of pure naïveté, thinking that somehow the law will protect them or that the gay couple will be understanding. It could also be ego or a need to grandstand their beliefs. Neither of those is particularly conducive to keeping a business afloat.

    • Paul_Xavier

      Concealing the reason for declining may be interpreted, as being ashamed of it. Deciding that being obedient, and unashamed is more important than any legal damage. They decided to act according to whom they prized most. I’m not saying that you are ashamed, of your faith, but these people have submitted to it, more completely. That is not something we should ridicule them for.

      • grevious channing

        I don’t believe that I ridiculed them, only that I didn’t understand their tactics. Had any of the people whom I turned down asked me point blank why I turned them down, I would have told them honestly. In all the years that we’ve been turning them away, no one has EVER asked. I don’t believe that I have denied my faith or lied to anyone with regard to my motives. I simply tell them that we’re unable to help them on the date that they requested. It is absolutely the truth.

        • Paul_Xavier

          I understand what you’re saying. I shouldn’t have said you ridiculed them. The thing is that Jesus is always asking his children to find opportunities to share who he is. There is always a price for that, because every one has some aspect of Jesus that we reject. Whether it’s surrendering our belongings to a robber, or accepting violence that we don’t deserve, or allowing him to tell us who we should love. The world rejects his authority, and his wisdom. His love is the light, and his authority is the salt. The world scorns us for repeating what he says. Could there be an opportunity, to speak on his authority, and be hated for the reasons Jesus was hated?

  • Side show Bob

    New York suck! What else is there to say! Want to live in Gomorrah, because Sodom is San Francisco, then move to New York!

  • Stephen C

    Try it at St Patrick’s in NYC. That is their end game.

  • It 2 it 567


    “The LOVE of MONEY is the ROOT of –ALLL– EVIL.”

    NOTE, that’s not murder, abortion, thievery or sodomy.

    NOTE too —-that’s NOT love of gold and jewels and mansions.

    It’s the LOVE of MONEY —which is, in essense,
    BABYLONIAN numb–URs worship and ‘MAGI–ICK’.

    MON—KNEE. ‘MON’ meaning SLAVE in ancient script.

    POINT to the ROOT!

    ————————————————————you need to attend to.

    Everything else follows from this.

    IF your ‘church’ is NOT preaching this —-it AIN’T Christian.

    It —IS— ‘on board’

    In this 11th hour of RED CHINA handover,
    ————————————————IT IS taking YOU to HELLLLLLL.

    • Paul_Xavier

      Relax ……God is in control.

  • AirBaron

    If you oppose gay marriage, as I do, next time you get one of the a-holes threatening action, bake their cake and fill it with cat food. Let them use your property… after you trash it for them. Then maybe these gaynazis will get the hint.

  • Yousbabtle

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  • Type 53

    Not long ago Beck said, “Anybody within the sound of my voice that hates a gay person because they’re gay, you have no place calling yourself a fan of mine.” “You have no place in this country.”
    Seems he’s on the side of the State. Or something. With him, ya never really know.

  • POTUS mime

    a few thoughts to ponder….how do you know they’re gay? The fact is, many self proclaimed “lesbians” are in fact bisexual and/or confused. They aren’t strictly homosexual. (although some are). They predicate this whole scam of gay marriage on the idea that they were “born that way”. However, there remains no proof of this claim. Lastly, once they have married someone of the same sex, and for the sake of argument, let’s say they divorce. Can they turn around and marry someone else of the opposite sex or are they locked into same sex marriage, if they really were born that way? I guess theoretically, I could marry my best friend who happens to be same sex and we are both heterosexual…could anyone dispute our claim? Could I run around to businesses and claim I’m getting married to my best friend and when they refuse to service me, sue them?

    • Yo Mamma

      There is nothing in Torah against Lesbianism

      You christians need sot get your heads around that

      • Equis

        You don’t have a grip on reality and have no idea of which you speak.

  • Yo Mamma

    I support lesbianism

    There is nothing at all in Torah prohibiting the relationship.

    In fact in a case of a man with several wives, it maybe a very healthy environment

  • mattzweck

    they have a right to refuse service to anyone.

    • Hy Alldredge

      Not legally, they don’t. I’m not saying this is right, but do realize that the ground for this was laid with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by defining businesses as “public accommodations” and therefore subject to governmental regulation. Since then government has placed restrictions on the right to refuse service.

    • Monet

      No, they don’t. Google “public accommodation laws”.

      • Equis

        I like what another poster said donate the proceeds in their name to the National Organization for marriage and claim the donation on your taxes at the end of the year. They will stop suing and go where it does not infringe on people’s religious beliefs.

  • Moozmom

    Gays can never marry. They can only form a mirage. And my friends have gay children I love dearly, but they cannot marry the same sex partner. It’s always a mirage, never a marriage.

    • Monet

      Marriage is nothing more than a legal contract, get over it.

      • Equis

        It’s more then a legal contract get a clue otherwise just call it what it is a civil union which doesn’t fall under the marriage banner and make your own contract.

  • R.J. Brownlee

    That just goes to show you that GOOD PEOPLE are punished for the atrocities that the liberals force on us. It’s time for another revolution and take back our country from these so called government officials.

  • ArthurDBusch

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  • disqus_W4TwVKH43w

    My question is, how can we be forced to accept someone else’s beliefs and can’t stand up for our own? You see this all over America. All other beliefs are protected except Christianity.

    • Robert Carsella

      That’s the best comment I’ve seen yet, and I have to agree with you. Why is it that the Christians are the ones on the chopping block now days?!!!

  • Robert Carsella

    Glenn Beck, what the hell is wrong with this world? How have things gotten so bad that we, the U.S. could even allow the gay community to have any right to be able to sue for something so trivial such as this? I’m so outraged over this and am wondering what has happened to my America. We are such a sue happy society that I’m becoming ashamed to even call myself an American anymore. People of the world are laughing in our faces, and rightfully so. Even though I don’t agree with the gay community, and have done my very best to look the other way, this b.s. has got to stop. When will enough be enough already?!!! I understand how the gay activists think that this is a win win for them, but all they are doing is, pardon the pun, leaving a bad taste in everyones mouths. These truly are the end of days in my opinion, and this crap has got to stop. Gays may call me a homophobe, but all I call it is being one very pissed off and disappointed American. Who do we need to write to in new York to get our point across how ashamed we are of them?…

  • La-La-Love

    Are you kidding me? Change the word ‘gay’ with black and reread the whole thing and you’ll be screaming racism inside the first paragraph.

    How can it possibly be ok to have the reception and several other openly gay events hosted on their property but suddenly the wedding ceremony is ‘against their religion’? Sounds to me, more like these people are just fine with making money off gay people but when it comes right down to it they have problems. It’s called being hypocritical and discriminatory. Sorry, when you own a business in America, you DON’T have the right to discriminate.

  • concerned citizen

    I saw a very good post about this on another website. This poster suggested the business owner be kind always. Tell the couple that while this against their beliefs, they will host the. Event to comply with the law. However also let them know a very largest and substantial amount of the money they are paying for the venue will be donated *in the couple’s name* to an organization that supports traditional marriage AND an organization that helps those who feel trapped the gay lifestyle to be rehabilitated. The couple then must choose if they want their money donated to these causes with their names attached. I thought this was very insightful and thoughtful too.

  • Linus77

    Equality, huh? A “married” couple would have received ONE payment…but these women get payment for each? And if I were the business owner, I wouldn’t pay a dime, nor would I do ANY “reprogramming”. In fact, I would have sued the two women for harassment, defamation, stalking, and violating my constitutional rights… And I would include ALL protesters, those who threatened my business, and anyone involved with this situation. I would also have done an investigation on all these people…basically, they would regret ever thinking they could force their crap down my throat and try to make me live by their rules. Nope, nope, nope.

  • Lee Wilson

    I would love them to do this to Muslims..but they ain’t got the guts. we’re in the tyranny of the minority.

  • the one

    Just wait, only a matter of time before they start to sue churches for not allowing them to marry inside the church.
    “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by
    Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him

    Matthew 24:15

  • John Jones

    First the courts said that Christians could not exclude
    the Catholic Irish from voting, then the Chinese had to be paid regular wages,
    after which women had to be admitted to men only bars. The government even forced Christians
    to serve blacks even though the Bible clearly supports slavery and the separation of the races.

    Now they are at
    it again denying Christians their God-given right to discriminate against gays.
    Next thing you know they will want Christians to act like good Samaritans and
    feed the poor and hungry!

    • Paul_Xavier

      There was a time when slavery was the only form of employment. Giving someone payment for their work, and turning them loose would have made that payment, a price on their head that any robber could collect. Slavery was the only form of employment at the time. The separation of the races comes from a quote from Moses. He spoke about one tribe of black people,, not all black people. Also laws in the Bible come from God’s word, not the important figures in it. God’s prophet’s and chosen leaders gave more examples to God’s law through disobedience, than obedience. If Moses had said that Races should be separated it would not be law, because God didn’t say it. Thank you for challenging us to be like good Samaritans. If we are not known for it, that might mean that we don’t do it enough. You should also remember that it was Good Christians, in those courts, which passed these laws, while confronting Poor Christians. They were not atheist courts gaining victories over Christians.

  • alf564

    Looks like the state of colorado has become the old Soviet Union…Comrade you do everything the way we say!!! Hickey, the gov is a total waste of time…a dumorat that wants to be dictator!

  • Adam Jenson

    “why would you force that issue” because its about forced endorsement. Militant gays don’t want tolerance they want everyone to agree with their “life style” and if you don’t they will punish you.

  • Adam Jenson


  • Verity

    The way to stop homosexual activists from using government and lawsuits to force businesses to participate in celebrating their same-sex ceremonies, is for the businesses to state that all proceeds from same-sex celebrations will be donated to the National Organization for Marriage. The homosexual activists do not want NOM funded, so they will stop forcing themselves upon unwilling Americans.

  • Tim F

    You people, seriously…

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