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Will The New York Farm Refusing To Host A Lesbian Wedding Face Legal Problems?

In a situation that has tensions rising on both sides of the marriage equality issue, a lesbian couple in New York State was turned away by a farm owner who refused to book their wedding because of their sexuality.

Melisa Erwin and Jennie McCarthy inquired about holding their summer 2013 nuptials at Liberty Ridge Farm in Schaghticoke, NY, but say the owners refused to host their ceremony because they’re lesbians, reports WNYT.

“When we asked why, [the owners told us], ‘That’s what my husband and I decided. We’ve been married a long time and it’s great you’re getting married and all, but you can’t do it here,'” said McCarthy.

Owner Robert Gifford defended his stance: “I think it’s our right to choose who we market to, like any business. We are a family business, and we just feel we ought to stay down the family path.”

But New York State’s human-rights laws ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in public accommodations, and Erwin and McCarthy have filed a complaint. (A similar situation in Vermont ended with the Wildflower Inn agreeing to no longer host weddings of any kind.)

We’ve shouted down the argument that marriage-equality legislation will force people to wed us against their will, but could we be headed that way?
Take your vows in the comments section.
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By:           Dan Avery
On:           Oct 22, 2012
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