Dan Gilmore / Feb. 24, 2016

Wedding Service Industry Fights for Religious Liberty

Aaron and Melissa Klein have compiled a new team of lawyers.

The owners of a farm in Schaghticoke, New York, decided that they wanted to move on with their lives and end their defense against charges of discrimination for refusing to host a same-sex wedding. Cynthia and Robert Gifford declined to host the wedding of Melisa Erwin and Jennifer McCarthy at their family farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, in 2012. The call was recorded, and the Giffords were hauled to court for violating the Empire State’s Human Rights Law. This week, they decided that they would pay the $13,000 fine and continue to live out their lives. This is just one example of the question facing the wedding service industry. Are the rights of owners of private property, cake bakers, photographers — their rights to express themselves as they see fit — ignored because the state decided it has a new definition of marriage?

While the Giffords have decided to leave the public spotlight, Aaron and Melissa Klein have compiled a new team of lawyers to take their case to the appellate level. The team is made up of First Liberty lawyers, a group that takes up religious liberty cases, and Boyden Gray, a former councilor to George H.W. Bush. The Oregon cake bakers were fined $135,000 because they refused to bake a cake for a same-sex ceremony. First Liberty Senior Councel Jeremy Dys told the Daily Signal, “They’ve assembled a world-class team of appellate attorneys including Boyden Gray. When you get a man of his caliber who’s joining their legal team, it says a lot about not only the importance of the case, but the likelihood of success.” We hope this case will help clarify the law regarding the rights of small business owners in the face of government’s (im)moral decrees.

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