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Wedding industry illustrates unresolved legal relationship between religious freedom and gay rights

Recent discrimination charges against wedding-related businesses highlight how complicated adjudicating the First Amendment can be.
Kelsey Dallas, Deseret News Modified: August 31, 2014 at 5:21 am •  Published: August 31, 2014
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It's not always happily ever after for Christian business owners in the wedding industry, as recent religious freedom cases illustrate.

Cynthia and Robert Gifford, owners of Liberty Ridge Farm in New York, have decided to stop hosting wedding ceremonies after being fined for refusing to rent their space to a lesbian couple, The Blaze reported.

"The family will continue hosting wedding receptions, but ceremonies — which have traditionally been hosted inside the Giffords' home on the property or at another nearby location — will immediately cease."

When Administrative Law Judge Migdalia Pares ruled in mid-August, Religion News Service reported that the farm is both a business and a private residence, which complicated the case.

Quoting Adam Winkler, a law professor at the University of California, RNS reported that, although "public accommodation laws usually don't apply to private residences," the decision to start a home-based business removed the couple's right to refuse service based on their religious beliefs.

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