Back in 2013, Melisa and Jennie McCarthy, eager to marry, had chosen the Liberty Ridge Farm to host their union, but the owners of the farm had rejected their request on the basis of their religious beliefs. Melisa and Jennie had filed a complaint of discrimination so that other couples do not face such discrimination again.
We then found that the Liberty Ridge Farm is not officially considered as a religious institution but as a public company or, in the state of New York, discrimination based on sexual orientation is prohibited.
It is also on this law that the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, who heard the case, based its verdict. The discrimination was therefore unanimously confirmed and the owners, the Giffords, will have to pay a fine of $13,000.
"While we recognize that the burden placed on the Giffords’ right to freely exercise their religion is not inconsequential, it cannot be overlooked that SDHR’s determination does not require them to participate in the marriage of a same-sex couple," Judge Karen Peters said. "Indeed, the Giffords are free to adhere to and profess their religious beliefs that same-sex couples should not marry, but they must permit same-sex couples to marry on the premises if they choose to allow opposite-sex couples to do so."
"New York chose to guarantee a society where lunch counters would serve black and white customers and businesses would not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, and all of us benefit from these protections," Mariko Hirose, a senior staff attorney at the NYCLU and the lead counsel on the case, said in a statement. "We’re glad the court upheld longstanding laws against discrimination, and we’re proud of the McCarthys for standing up for equal treatment of all New Yorkers."