No Liberty At Liberty Ridge Farm

It’s one thing to hear about places that turn down same-sex weddings at their venues – I assume, disappointedly, that it happens far more than we’re aware of – but it’s quite another to hear about it happening in your own backyard. Say what you will about upstate New York, there are still a great number of wonderful people and places here that you can’t get anywhere else, and I take a certain amount of pride in living and having been raised here. Yet when I hear about something like this, it makes me sad to be a in a place where such beliefs still exist.

Liberty Ridge Farm recently turned down a same-sex couple who wanted to have a wedding at their venue. In a story reported at Kristi’s On the Edge blog and on WNYT, the owners of Liberty Ridge Farm politely turned down not just one gay wedding, but a total of three gay weddings, at their site in the past year.

If it is indeed a private establishment, does Liberty Ridge have the right to refuse service to someone? Absolutely.

Do I have the right to object to that decision and recommend a boycott? Absolutely.

That’s the beauty of the liberty that this country is founded upon. Unfortunately for Liberty Farms, it’s just bad business. It’s also hypocritical, as I have no doubt that at least a few of the folks who have been married there had been divorced previously, so if you’re going to espouse religious beliefs, at least be consistent about it. Picking and choosing is where the bigotry and discrimination come into play.

It’s upsetting to think that there are businesses that still refuse service to certain people based on their sexual identity. That is no different than denying service to someone based on their race, gender, religion, or other aspect. And if being gay is a choice, where does that leave religion? Surely that is more of a choice than being gay. What if a company were to deny service to someone because they were Mormon or Jewish or Catholic? Would you support a business like that, no matter how much you liked what they were offering? Would you support a business that turned customers away or refused service because they were black? Personally, I can’t, and I won’t.

What may be most insidious about this whole thing is that all reports indicate that the owners of Liberty Farm Ridge denied this couple their wedding in the most polite and nice way, even apologizing to the two young women that they couldn’t accommodate them. As if that excuses homophobia. As if it’s okay to say, “I hate gay people and don’t believe they deserve the same rights as me,” so long as you do it with a smile and an apology.

Well I’m sorry too. Sorry that Liberty Ridge Farm is such a homophobic establishment that they chose to turn down at least three loving couples who wanted only to get married in a beautiful place. Sorry that though they may have the right to deny the use of their land to anyone, they chose to do so based on someone’s sexual identity. Sorry that I refuse to just accept it and pretend it’s not a homophobic act. And sorry that thanks to the news of social media (and their own website, FaceBook page, and Twitter account), people know exactly what sort of hateful, homophobic practices go down at Liberty Ridge Farm, and how to get in touch with them. Most of all, I’m sorry that while I am sincerely asking any and all of those who decide to reach out to them to be polite and respectful (and doing so with a smile on my face), some simply won’t listen.  (Super sorry about that last one.)

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