Videographers Drawn into the War on Marriage

Washington Update

Photo credit: Popperipopp

Photo credit: Popperipopp

A pair of Ohio videographers are getting a close-up of religious intolerance, thanks to a clash with local activists. Like a growing number of Americans, Courtney Schmackers is finding out firsthand what’s really behind the redefinition of marriage. Last month, the owner of Next Door Stories got what most Christian wedding vendors are starting to dread: an inquiry from a same-sex couple.

The email asked if they could schedule an appointment to talk with the videographers about filming their upcoming same-sex “wedding.” In a scene that’s played out all across the country, Courtney sent a polite response suggesting that they try another production company. “Thank you for reaching out about wedding videography… Unfortunately at this time, I do not offer services for same-sex weddings, but thank you for your inquiry!”

Instead of respecting the owners’ beliefs and finding another videographer, the women went to the press to exact revenge. In an interview with CNN, the couple kick-started their campaign to put Next Door Studios out of business. “I couldn’t believe it,” Jean Moffit said. “I thought this was a tight-knit community. We wanted to support local commerce and to get that kind of response was astounding.” After much thought, the couple told reporters that they’d filed a complaint with the Bexley Chamber of Commerce to make Schmacker pay for exercising her constitutional rights. “It is our hope,” they said, “that… (going) public will spearhead some much needed overdue (legislation).”

And unfortunately, we know exactly what kind of legislation they mean. This is the same playbook that’s been used in Houston, Springfield, Fayetteville, Utah, and others to kick down the door between government and religious liberty. Under the umbrella of these sexual orientation-gender identity (SOGI) ordinances, cities are quietly ushering in a fierce government crackdown on men and women of faith.

Of course, the interesting part of Courtney’s story is that it’s taking place in Ohio — one of the few states where natural marriage is still law and “sexual orientation” isn’t included in its anti-discrimination policy. But already, the Bexley Chamber is setting the wheels in motion for an ordinance that it could use to attack the beliefs of business owners. According to a spokesman, the board wants to “ensure this does not happen again. The Chamber Board believes that discrimination in any form is wrong and should not be tolerated… We (have begun) the process of rewriting our policies and guidelines.”

For Courtney, the nightmare is just beginning. But, like so many brave Americans in cake shops, classrooms, and courtrooms, she’s standing firm in her faith. “I made a business decision based on my spiritual beliefs and the biblical definition of marriage because I thought that I had a right to do that. Unfortunately, I gave the wrong answer to the wrong person, who decided to make a private issue into a public platform, and now I am fully experiencing the consequences. I am sorry you had to be exposed to it, and I’m open to any and all conversation regarding it.”

Courtney’s story will be one of countless others if the Supreme Court imposes same-sex “marriage” on the entire nation. These activists aren’t after a “live-and-let-live” policy. They’re on a march to force all Americans to celebrate and affirm what they do under the penalty of law.


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Tony Perkins is President of the Washington, D.C.-based Family Research Council. He is a former member of the Louisiana legislature where he served for eight years, and he is recognized as a legislative pioneer for authoring measures like the nation's first Covenant Marriage law. He received his undergraduate degree from Liberty University and a Master's Degree from Louisiana State University in Public Administration. Perkins is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, and a former police officer and television news reporter.
Tony Perkins
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