A same-sex couple in Ohio has filed a complaint against a local video production business after the owner refused to film their wedding because she doesn’t believe in gay marriage.
According to reports, Jenn Moffitt and Jerra Kincley of Bexley, Ohio, reached out to local video production business Next Door Stories to inquire about filming their upcoming wedding. Moffitt and Kincely were shocked when they received a response from owner Courtney Schmakers telling them that she doesn’t provide her services to same-sex couples.
“Thank you for reaching out,” the response from Schmakers begins. “How did you hear about Next Door Stories? Unfortunately at this time I do not offer services for same-sex weddings, but thank you for your inquiry!”
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“I couldn't believe it," Moffitt told CNN. "It is a small business, and I thought this was a tight knit community. We wanted to support local commerce and to get that kind of response was astounding.”
Although Schmakers has yet to publicly comment on the issue, she did respond to someone on Facebook about the controversy.
“I made a business decision based on my spiritual beliefs and the biblical definition of a marriage because I thought I had a right to that,” Schmakers wrote on Facebook. “Unfortunately I gave the wrong answer to the wrong person, who decided to make a private issue into a public platform and now I am fully experiencing the consequences. I’m sorry you had to be exposed to it, and I’m open to any and all conversation regarding it!”
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The couple has filed an official complaint against Next Door Stories with the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce, and now that the story has started to spread, Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler has issued a statement on the matter.
“Understandably, the community is concerned about a recent internet post regarding a query to a Bexley based business, in which the private business in question has reportedly denied a service based on sexual orientation,” Kessler said in a statement. “The City is concerned as well. We are proud of our community's welcoming environment and encourage mutual respect and inclusivity. Bexley, Ohio is a community that embraces diversity and welcomes businesses, families and individuals of ALL sexual orientation, race, religion, age, nationality, ethnicity, disabilities, socio-economic levels, etc. As an employer and a provider of services to our residents, we extend that same openness and inclusivity.”
Bexley reportedly doesn’t have laws that protect people from being discriminated against for being LGBT, but Moffitt and Kincley say they hope this will lead to legislation going forward.