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Farmers Punished For Their Religious Beliefs Speak Out – ‘We’re Not Hateful People’

The owners of Liberty Ridge Farms in Schaghticoke, New York found themselves in front of a Human Right Commission almost a year ago, having to defend their religious beliefs and their right to conduct business as they see fit to a law judge, because they would not host a same-sex wedding at their establishment for a lesbian couple.

The farmers – Cynthia and Robert Gifford – would eventually be fined $13,000 by the Commission, despite the fact that the case clearly involved religious freedom of the business owners and did not constitute a violation of anybody’s rights.  The Gifford’s only declined the marriage ceremony itself, and were happy to allow the lesbian couple to host their reception at Liberty Ridge.

Now the farmers are speaking out.  In a heart wrenching video, they have announced that they would no longer host weddings in any form at their business, and pleaded with the lesbian couple – Melisa Erwin and Jennifer McCarthy – to understand that they are “not hateful people.”

Via the Daily Signal:

The phone call at 8:30 p.m. seemed routine for Cynthia and Robert Gifford—a bride-to-be inquiring about holding a  wedding at their home, Liberty Ridge Farm in upstate New York.

Then Cynthia Gifford realized the caller wanted to book their family farm near the village of  Schaghticoke for a same-sex wedding. She politely declined.

“We’re not hateful people,” Gifford said in an interview with The Daily Signal, holding back tears. “We just believe that a marriage is between a man and a woman, and we do not want to hold a [same-sex] marriage ceremony here on our family farm because the state tells us we have to do it.”

And yet, New York state did indeed force their hand on the issue, telling a small business owner to fork over thousands of dollars and stopping them from hosting weddings at all, a clear violation of their own rights.

Watch the video …

Sadly, the entire affair was a setup to begin with.  Erwin and McCarthy just happened to be recording a phone conversation with the owners of Liberty Ridge – the first contact they had with the Goodwin’s.  Additionally, the couple were from Trenton, New Jersey, but apparently took up the noble fight on behalf of lesbian couples in New York.  In other words, they were looking for a payday.

Question to ponder: Why is a Human Rights Commission only interested in the rights of the lesbian couple, but not equally fighting for the religious rights of the farm owners?

Rusty Weiss

Rusty Weiss is a freelance journalist focusing on the conservative movement and its political agenda. He has been writing conservatively charged articles for several years in the upstate New York area, and his writings have appeared in the Daily Caller, American Thinker,, Big Government, the Times Union, and the Troy Record. He is also Editor of one of the top conservative blogs of 2012, the Mental Recession.

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