No one should be surprised that governments order citizens to take re-education at odds with their political and religious beliefs. This has been going on for decades, for example, in no-fault divorce courts.
 
Organizations advocating for liberty are condemning the treatment dished out by the State of New York to the Gifford family, who had refused to rent their farm to same-sex partners for a so-called marriage ceremony. Minutemen News asks “What is happening in the United States of America?” These homeowners who run a business on their property have been ordered to attend state-mandated training that counters their religious beliefs, in addition to paying fines of $10,000 and damages to the lesbian couple in the amount of $3000.
 
Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who had refused to rent their property for the so-called marriage lost their appeal against the ruling by the state’s human rights agency.  The lawyer arguing on behalf of the Giffords, Caleb Dalton said, “All Americans should be free to live and work according to their beliefs, especially in our own backyards.” The Alliance Defending Freedom legal counsel helped the Giffords and said in a press release that the state “ordered them to implement re-education training classes designed to contradict the couple’s religious beliefs about marriage."
 
According to Jim Trainor – an attorney allied with ADF - the dispute with the lesbian couple happened over a three-minute telephone interaction that, unbeknownst to the Giffords, was being recorded. A report by LifeSiteNews said that holding same-sex ceremonies conflicted with the Giffords’ beliefs, they also invited the two women to visit the farm and discuss having their wedding reception there. The offer was refused and a two-year-long legal battle thus ensued.
 
The Giffords are considering their legal options, which may include challenging the ruling by the NY Department of Human Rights under protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution and the New York state constitution. Meanwhile, they are considering the employment of someone who would be dedicated to handling same-sex requests, thus increasing the cost of running their family business where they live and work.
 
Government-mandated re-education classes have been occurring for decades.  When a morally grounded person marries, he or she marries for life and agrees that if grave abuse or adultery occur, there would be just cause to separate. The person who caused the break-up would be expected to repair the damage caused, as much as possible.  These are the obligations that a morally grounded person accepts and expects from the other before agreeing to enter a marriage contract.  
 
The U.S. Constitution says that no State can pass any law impairing the obligation of contracts (Article 1, Section 10, ¶ 3).  For something as serious as a marriage contract, wherein parties agree to raise children together, it violates the morally grounded person’s freedom to interfere and impinges upon the obligations of the parties’ marital agreement.
 
However, in no-fault divorce courts, the person who reneges on their marital promises, though the other has done nothing grave, uses the power of the government and courts to forcibly break the household in two. The state is impairing the obligation of the contract. The morally grounded person is ordered to attend parenting classes which are designed to contradict the person’s religious beliefs. The state's re-education classes teach that breaking up a marriage for any reason whatsoever is normal, that there is no obligation to uphold promises made in a marriage, and that there is no obligation to children to maintain an intact home. The state teaches that there is no obligation for the person who caused the break-up to repair the damage caused.
 
Where is the Alliance Defending Freedom when these morally grounded people need help to repair their strained marriage contracts?
 
Spero columnist Bai Mcfarlane is the president of Mary's Advocates.

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