Facebook fallout for refusing to film same-sex ceremony

A video production company in Ohio has cited religious reasons for turning down a request to film a same-sex ceremony.

The resulting social media row has triggered the area’s Chamber of Commerce to rewrite its discrimination policy.

Courtney Schmackers of Next Door Stories in Bexley declined an email request by Jenn Moffitt and Jerra Kincely stating: “Unfortunately at this time I do not offer services for same-sex weddings”.

Public platform

The couple then took to social media to raise awareness of their case and registered a complaint against the business on the Facebook page of the Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce.

Schmackers defended her position on her own Facebook page, saying: “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.

“Unfortunately I gave the wrong answer to the wrong person, who decided to make a private issue into a public platform”.

Conscience

The Bexley Area Chamber of Commerce reacted to the incident saying its board was now in the process of rewriting its policy to forbid applicants and current members “from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, gender, gender expression, age, ancestry, disability, marital status, sexual orientation or military status”.

Same-sex marriage is currently outlawed in Ohio – the US Supreme Court is set to make a ruling on traditional marriage in the next few months.

Next Door Stories is not the only business which has faced criticism for declining orders based on conscience.

Christian florist

In February a Christian florist who refused to provide flowers for a gay wedding in the US declined a settlement offer that would have saved her home and business.

The day after a judge ruled that Baronelle Stutzman had broken state laws, Washington State’s Attorney General Bob Ferguson offered to drop his lawsuit if she paid a fine and agreed to make flower arrangements for same-sex ceremonies.

But Stutzman rejected the offer, explaining in a letter to Ferguson that it is about “freedom not money”.

Legal action

In Northern Ireland a Christian-run bakery that declined to decorate a pro-gay marriage campaign cake is being taken to court.

The legal action brought by the taxpayer-funded Equality Commission against Ashers Baking Company is set to start on 26 March 2015.

The Christian Institute is supporting the McArthur family, who own and run the business, and says the Commission should not be wasting taxpayers’ money on its campaign against the family.

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