Bexley, Ohio couple Jenn Moffitt and Jerra Kincley found themselves shocked after local wedding business Next Door Stories, a video production business, denied them services for their upcoming wedding, according to CNN. Moffitt expressed shock and dismay at the response, especially after trying to support a local business.
"I couldn't believe it. 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."
The couple reached out to the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce through its Facebook page five weeks ago to file a formal complaint against the business; the couple also shared their experience on Facebook to raise awareness and garner attention from local officials. Fortunately for the couple, they mostly received positive feedback on their Facebook post with photographers offering their services and kind words from locals. Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce addressed the incident on its Facebook page, declaring that the organization does not tolerate discrimination in any form.
Although sponsors killed a proposed Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act last year over concerns it would open the door to discriminate against the LGBT community, Bexley, which is a suburb of Columbus, is not one of the municipalities in Ohio that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation. However, the Chamber of Commerce reviewed the situation and dispersed a letter to its members saying its board is in the process of rewriting its policy to forbid applicants and current members from discriminating based on gender, gender expression, color, race, age, religion, disability, ancestry, sexual orientation, marital or military status. Belly Mayor Ben Kessler also took to his Facebook page to address the matter saying that although the community respects, includes and embraces all individuals, it does not have authority over the Commerce’s membership as it is a private entity.
Ohio is one of 13 states left that ban same-sex marriage. However, the U.S. Supreme Court is scheduled to make a final decision on whether the state’s same-sex marriage ban is constitutional in spring that could officially lift the state’s ban.