Jenn Moffitt (left) and Jerra Knicely (right)

Jenn Moffitt (left) and Jerra Knicely (right).  Photo by Jenn Moffitt.

In a tremendous show of solidarity, the Bexley City Council has taken a monumental and pioneering step. On June 23, 2015, the Council passed a non-discrimination ordinance. Ordinance 12-15 bans the discrimination in the city of Bexley based upon sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin, disability, race, age, familial status or military status. The measure passed by a vote of 6-0. Council President Richard Sharpe abstained from voting.
  Due to this new ordinance, no one can be refused a job, business service or an apartment in the city of Bexley based on the above listed characteristics. Violators can be fined up to $1000 for their first offense. This new law goes into effect in 30 days.

Accidental activists
  The issue of anti-discrimination against same sex couples got due attention because of the sheer grit and hard work of Jerra Knicely and Jenn Moffitt. Four months ago, when the two were planning their wedding, Bexley photography company Next Door Stories denied services to them. Via e-mail, Next Door Stories owner Courtney Schmackers told Knicely and Moffitt that she wouldn’t be able to offer services for same sex wedding. Knicely shared the following e-mail with The Columbus Free Press: “Hello, Thank you for reaching out about wedding videography. 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! Peace.”
  After Knicely and Moffitt filed a complaint with the Bexley Chamber of Commerce and their story got national attention through Facebook and even on CNN, the couple received death threats. The emotional roller coaster they experienced over those months was trying for the couple. However, with unprecedented support from all over the world, as well from new-found friends, Knicely and Moffitt achieved a great victory for all who may be discriminated against in Bexley on June 23rd.  Knicely’s quote summarizes their ordeal: “It is very hurtful to see that friends I thought I had for years have disappeared. But those who were just acquaintances have shown great support. This whole thing shouldn’t have been an issue, but our reality, like so many other people, is that discrimination is still an everyday battle. I am thankful for Bexley City Council, that it stood against discrimination and quickly worked to make it illegal. I am overwhelmed with the amount of community support and the strangers who shared their stories. I have never felt so loved.”   

  Knicely and Moffitt call themselves “accidental activists” and encourage other people from the LGBT community to not be afraid and to stand up for their rights. They are currently planning their wedding ceremony.

  The Columbus Free Press salutes Knicely and Moffitt for their courage, but most importantly salutes Bexley City Council for doing the right thing.

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