CASEGifford v. Erwin

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Summary
Cynthia and Robert Giffords’ farm has been in their family for many years. The Giffords live in a barn they built on the farm and occasionally host and coordinate weddings on the first floor and the surrounding backyard area. On Sept. 25, 2012, Melisa McCarthy called Cynthia Gifford, inquiring about the use of the farm for her upcoming same-sex ceremony. Because of her Christian faith’s teachings on marriage, Cynthia politely told McCarthy that she and her husband don’t host and coordinate same-sex ceremonies but left open the invitation to visit the farm to consider it as a potential reception site. Instead, McCarthy and her partner filed a complaint with the Division of Human Rights. The agency ruled that the Giffords were guilty of “sexual orientation discrimination” for declining to host and coordinate the ceremony on their property. As punishment, the government fined them $10,000 plus $3,000 in damages and ordered them to implement staff re-education training classes that teach the state’s viewpoint on marriage.
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