Anti-discrimination law vs. associational freedom, again

Robert and Cynthia Gifford offer their Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, N.Y. as a wedding venue. New York has now fined them $13,000 for politely declining to host a gay wedding. They’ll also have to train their employees in compliance. [LGBTQ Nation, WNYT, Village Voice] Earlier on cakes and more cakes, flowers, photographers, etc. etc. More on this topic: Scott Shackford, Reason.


  • […] I admit, many of these issues go over my head given my limited understanding of the law. However, I’m inclined to say that the anti-discrimination law does not impose an unreasonable burden in this situation. Your private beliefs shouldn’t allow you to cut off services to a group based on racial preference or your views on gay marriage. Again, it’s beyond me to speculate too much, but how would this be different from redlining in a legal sense (aside from not having to do with banking)? (Overlawyered) […]

  • And I suppose if they “politely declined” to host a black wedding or an interracial wedding, that would be swell with everyone?

  • MX can you really see no distinction between anti-discrimination laws based on race and those based on sexual orientation?

  • MX,

    People have genuine religious differences with the concept of gay marriage. There is no established religion (as far as I know) that objects to black people getting married.

    But anyway, I have a question for your question. If you were black, would you want your wedding hosted by racists??

  • DEM, I don’t see the difference. Religious views have been used to justify any manner of bigotry for thousands of years. It wasn’t until 1978 that blacks could rise to senior leadership levels in the Mormon church.

    If the business wants hold itself out as a public accommodation, it needs to step up and follow the law.

  • MX,

    In fact that would be fine with me. I wouldn’t chose to do business there, but it’s their business, their money, their decisions.


    Which is precisely why these public accommodation laws need to go. I should not have to get permission from the state to pursue my livelihood as long as I don’t hurt anyone or defraud them.

  • Jerry,

    So business owners have no rights at all because the “law” says they don’t?

    Why is it that when it comes to customers, the owner seems to have no rights of his own. When it comes to his employees on such things as religious accommodations for the employee, the owner has no or limited rights.

    Does running and owning a business mean that you lose all your rights as a person?

    When the Colorado bakery / wedding cake case happened, CATO and others made a great point in articles and in briefs: there is a difference between public accommodation and forced actions against ones speech and religious rights.

    Unlike the bakery where the baker was told he had to create something against his religious beliefs, the owners of the wedding venue are not. The couple can hold their wedding without any type of creative support or forced expression from the venue.

    The couple should be able to rent the property, in my opinion.

  • DEM: Please read the district court opinion in Loving v. Virgina, which said that miscegenation laws were Constitutional because God put the races on separate continents and, therefore, must not have intended them to intermarry.

    Others: Business owners absolutely have certain rights; however, that right does not extend to discriminating against a class of people based on immutable characteristics. If you don’t like it, there are lots of options in the third–world you might consider.