Many people that have grown up in the Capital Region have gone to Liberty Ridge Farms with school to go apple picking.
Every Autumn droves of hoodie and flannel clad people descend upon Liberty Ridge for Apples, Cider, Baked Goods, Haunted Hayrides, and their infamous Corn Maze.
Some people even go there to get married.
But not everyone.
Not even everyone that wants to go there to get married does…but not by their choice.
Local reporter Abby Bleck broke a disturbing story.
Liberty Ridge Farms has decided that they won’t allow same sex marriages to be performed on their grounds.
Like most individuals that make this kind of stand they proclaim that it goes against their personal values, they also state that Liberty Ridge is a family environment.
As is to be expected (in this day and age, anyway) their Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/libertyridgefarm) has been blowing up non-stop with comments.
The vast majority of these are angry (even to the point of being inappropriate, which never helps make a valid and logical argument).
There is a smattering of support as well.
I should mention that initially Liberty Ridge kept deleting negative comments.
Eventually they became overwhelmed and gave up.
What our friends at Liberty Ridge are forgetting is that they run a business.
They’re not inviting people into their kitchen for dinner.
Nor are they a private, Member’s Only club.
This being the case, they have to abide by the law.
New York State law allows that a business is free to refuse services to any individual…(wait for it)…so long as the reason is not prejudicial. This does not allow for personal values to come into play.
An example (from personal experience from my time working at a bar), if a pregnant woman walks into a bar and orders an alcoholic beverage, and she is of age and not visibly intoxicated, or acting in a disruptive manner (being pregnant and drinking doesn’t count as disruptive, FYI) it is illegal for the bartender to refuse to serve her.
The bartender isn’t even suppose to warn her that it might not be a good idea.
If he/she did, they would open the bar up to civil and criminal charges, not to mention any fines and punishment that the state liquor authority would bring upon them.
But, businesses, legally, aren’t people.
They are supposed to remain neutral entities (unless, of course, they’re using lobbyists and campaign contributions to change legislation in their favor, but that’s another rant)
Now, another reporter pointed out that there is no specific legislation in place that is meant for this situation.
However, in the absence of such legislation we must yield to the generalized legislation.
That legislation makes it illegal for a business to discriminate.
Seeing as how NY recognizes violent crimes against homosexuals as hate crimes, a precedent has already been set that allows this to be considered discrimination….which, it is discrimination.
Pure and simple.
Personally, I don’t plan on ever going to Liberty Ridge again.
I have friends and family that are gay.
If they want to get married on a farm, I’ll support them.
But they better not get pissed when I start chucking apples instead of rice. (Not out of anger, but out of love….that’s how we show love in my family)
Where do you weigh in on this situation?