There was a huge outcry this month when a Bexley videographer said she wouldn’t shoot a same-sex wedding. People were angry at the woman who said no. Others were upset with the couple for making a big deal about it.
The battle has shifted now. The video business has all but disappeared, at least online. The people who wanted to shut it down are heading to City Hall.
“We’re shifting our focus from boycotting to actually doing something,” said Omar Faruk, founder of Wenited.org, which has organized a rally outside tonight’s Bexley City Council meeting. “ We realize, really, to make an impact, we need to change the law.”
Some Bexley city leaders already are working on it. At tonight’s council meeting, members are to discuss whether Bexley needs an anti-discrimination ordinance that addresses sexual-orientation and gender identity and expression. Columbus has one, but most of its suburbs have not confronted the issue.
“It’s something that hadn’t come up on our radar before,” said Bexley Mayor Ben Kessler. “To me, it’s a no-brainer.”
Councilwoman Deneese Owen is among those pressing for change. She got to work after she learned that a local business had declined services to a same-sex couple — news she found both disappointing and shocking, especially in Bexley.
“I see our community as fundamentally pretty inclusive and pretty tolerant,” she said.
So she spent the past couple of weeks researching anti-discrimination policies in other cities and digging deeper into the issue. She thinks adopting such an ordinance is the right thing to do, but she said the discussion requires care.
“We’re going to deal with this as thoughtfully and thoroughly as possible,” she said.
Faruk, 26, of Olde Towne East, said the outcry following the Bexley incident was “enormous.” More than 1,300 people liked his Facebook page calling for a boycott; fewer than 100 have liked an opposing page supporting the business.
But Faruk said it’s time to move past the boycott. He said the demonstration, which they’re calling a “Rally for Equality,” will be a polite one, bent on supporting change, not bashing officials.
“We don’t want to cause a scene or anything like that,” Faruk said. “This is not a protest. We just want to express our support for these two ladies as well as the community as a whole.”