Owners of a hall who were fined $13,000 for violating the state’s anti-discrimination law argued Monday that they should be legally allowed to follow their Christian faith.
Robert and Cynthia Gifford, the owners of Liberty Ridge Farm north of Albany, are appealing a ruling from the state’s Division of Human Rights that they violated New York law. Attorney Caleb Dalton, counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, told a five-judge panel of the Appellate Division of state Supreme Court that their faith does not allow them to facilitate the event.
Mariko Hirose, an attorney with the New York Civil Liberties Union, argued that businesses cannot be exempted from having to follow anti-discrimination laws.
The Giffords attended the hearing.
“When the government tells you what to say and punishes you if you don’t, it’s very frightening,” Cynthia Gifford told reporters. “And all of us Americans should be scared about this, no matter where we stand on the issue.”