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Bexley City Council To Consider Discrimination Ordinance

Jerra Knicely (L), Jenn Moffitt and their lawyer, Carol Ann Fey (R), attend a rally before a Bexley City Council meeting.
Mandie Trimble
Jerra Knicely (L), Jenn Moffitt and their lawyer, Carol Ann Fey (R), attend a rally before a Bexley City Council meeting. The women say local business turned them away due to their being a same-sex couple.

Bexley City Council will consider a discrimination ordinance that would include members of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The move follows a lesbian couple who spoke out about a local wedding photographer who declined their business due to their their sexual orientation.

Bexley City Councilwoman Deneese Owen will head up the committee that will draft a proposed discrimination ordinance.

“No one should be turned away simply for who they are,” Owen said. “And if our legislators at the state level won’t protect our residents, then it’s in our hands, as local leaders, to take action.”

If Bexley passes the ordinance, it would join about 25 other Ohio cities, including Columbus, to have a law on the books that protects members of the LGBT community from discrimination.

During the public comment period, Bexley resident Brent Whitehead raised several questions including enforcement costs and potential penalties.

“I’m not sure you really want to bring in the force of government in this situation,” he said.

Jenna Moffitt and Jerra Knicely have said the owner of Next Door Stories, a Bexley videography business, refused to film their same-sex wedding. Neither Moffitt nor Knicely addressed the council. But a number of their supports, who held a rally prior to the meeting, did.

“I think it was really moving for the council to hear and maybe they’ll move forward at a faster rate after hearing all of that,” Knicely said.

We reached out to Next Door Stories, but our requests for comment have not been returned.

Bexley City Council did not put a timetable on when a proposal could be up for a vote.

Most council members support the idea. Long-time councilman Mark Masser said he needs more information to make a decision.

Knicely and Moffitt await the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision, expected this spring, on gay marriage to set a wedding date.