Bloomsburg May Consider Same-Sex Discrimination Ban

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BLOOMSBURG -- Council members in Bloomsburg are considering a possible ordinance that would prohibit businesses from discriminating against customers based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Council chambers were packed during Monday night's meeting.

The controversy comes after a bridal shop in town denied service to a same-sex couple based on the business owner's religious beliefs.

"I believe it's so important that the town recognize all its citizens including the LGBT communities. I think it's very important that we step forward when issues like this come up. There really is something we can do," said Dwayne Heisler, a business owner in town, who spoke to council members, urging such an ordinance.

In Pennsylvania, same sex couples can legally marry, but in most communities, businesses can legally deny services to them.

Some municipalities have passed ordinances like the one Bloomsburg is considering, which ban same-sex discrimination.

Pittston in Luzerne County, Scranton and Harrisburg are among those municipalities with such laws on the books.

"I have friends who are gay and know family members who are gay and would love to be able to go anywhere to buy a dress or tuxedo or anything to get married," said Kayla Eppinette of Bloomsburg.

"It is their right to sort of be able to believe what they want to, but they really shouldn't be able to not sell someone the dress because they're gay," said Matthew Rogers of Bloomsburg.

Bloomsburg town council members said after hearing from the public, they will consider the ordinance.

There is no timeline for when they may vote on one.

"I don't think anybody should be discriminated upon against any preference whether it be racial or sexual. I think people should have the right to whatever makes them happy," said Larry Crawford of Bloomsburg.


  • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

    I believe a business has the right to refuse service to anyone for religious reasons. You LGBT people need to stop shoving your lifestyle down everyone’s throat and trying to force people to view your lifestyle your way. YOU are infringing on other people’s rights. You don’t like it when someone infringes on your rights well you are infringing on everyone else’s rights.

    • hamexposed

      It is illegal Federally to discriminate against sexual orientation. Hi prepare for your latter homophobe!

      • Alexis Elizabeth Drob

        I am no christian, matter of fact I happen to be an atheist and like it that way. but at the same time, I strongly believe that this buisness has rights as well as all you so called LGBTs. But religious rights take priority here because this businesses like this usually are christian and it is their right to refuse to stray from their beliefs even for money and I do not see a problem with that. I support the buisness and it’s rights. If any buisness doesn’t want to serve an LGBT, a christian or even an atheist for that matter then that is their right. I have been denied services many time because of my non religious status, instead of making a huge production of it I simply went somewhere else and gladly gave my money to another buisness who wanted my money. It’s as simple as that. You LGBT idiots need to get over yourselves, the world does NOT revolve around you and your lifestyle!! Give your money to another buisness who will gladly take it and leave the bridal store buisness alone.

      • hamexposed

        “So called”. Oh honey, check your bigotry! This business will be closed, NOT by us”so called LGBT” but by the majority that doesn’t buy into this archaic way of thinking! Federal Law clearly states you cannot discriminate against anyone if you own/run a public service! Come up to 2014, darling, and leave your homophobia at the door!

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    I aboslutely LOVE reading how DIVIDED we are on this subject! Both sides think they are right, steadfast in their convictions. It’s the new “civil” war! If I was gay, I’d shop elsewhere. If I was a business owner, I’d sell to whoever. If I was a Christian book store, id sell playboys, but I’d call it “angels”! Haha

    • Rodger fox

      You relize you used religion to support denying people rights in another post against me, people also tried to use religion to deny rights to woman, people of other religions and people with different skin tones in the past and those where all struck down, and even privet business owners, and that doesn’t mean what you think it means by the way, have to now serve people of color, other religions and woman, so taking that out of the picture, since it’s been upheld that religion can’t be used to deny someone rights, then why shouldn’t the ordinance be passed? we have established already that as a business owner you can’t turn someone away for some very specific reasons, ones that sexuality does fall under by the way, so why be so pissed about this and not about having to serve someone that isn’t your color?

    • Mike

      I would hate to boycott the fair, the ordnance hasn’t even passed yet and maybe they would exempt Christian owned wedding related businesses. If they don’t then the ordinance may be unconstitutional. In any case maybe they will do the right thing yet. If not I would surely support a boycott of all things Bloomsburg next year.

  • Rodger fox

    Why is everyone acting like this is a violation of the business owners rights when it’s a matter of civil rights? I didn’t choose to be gay just like you didn’t choose to be straight so why do you have the right to discriminate against me for it? All I hear now is what people where saying about integration in the 50’s and it sickens me, Discrimination lessens everyone because it makes people not conciser someone that might have some good ideas but is a different race, gender, sexual orientation or religion. Lets just give up the hate in business at least, you can hate as you like in privet but once you open up an establishment you don’t have to be a member to enter you should have it open to all, no matter what.

    • Mad In Hazleton

      Since when is it a civil right to go out and go shopping??? you people better learn what a right is before you comment on them…if anything if this store owner has deep religious convictions then it’s their rights you are stomping on…..if you don’t like their policy being gay then shop somewhere else. except for color of skin this is not a civil rights case……..

      • AJB

        “You people” hahha that right there shows how ignorant and stupid you are. And I’m not arguing for or against their actions.. but it is MOST CERTAINLY a civil rights case. It’s not a civil right to go shopping, but the question at hand is: is it a violation of their civil rights to be denied service due to their sexual preference? Choosing to ignore the issue does not make it go away..

      • Mad In Hazleton

        AJB ,
        You people as in you posters numb nuts……it’s not against the law to not sell to someone because of your religious conviction..if it was then Bloomsburg wouldn’t have to pass a law….man you are thick headed..DuH…..but I guess you don’t care about the dress store owners rights being stomped on.

      • Rodger fox

        Ok, then why can’t a business owner deny a black person service based only on them being black? If it’s not a civil right to be able to buy things you need or want even then why can’t a Muslim business owner say that woman can’t shop there unless they have on a burka and are accompanied by a man? Because it is a right and that right shouldn’t be denied because someone is homosexual.

  • jb

    I assume too that his bridal shop only sells pure white dresses because they wouldn’t dare sell to someone who “gasp” has had sex before marriage.

  • Mike

    Forcing a Christian owned wedding related business to serve same sex weddings would be a lot like forcing a Christian bookstore to sell Playboy.

    • AJB

      Not even close. You’re comparing wedding dressed to playboy?? A more realistic comparasion would be it’s like a christian DJ giving a gay couple a marriage license.

      • Mike

        Not even close, DJ’S don’t even give out marriage licenses and who buys a wedding dress if not to wear at a wedding.

    • AJB

      I never said they were not planning on wearing them to a wedding now did I? I was just pointing out that you’re comparing selling wedding dresses to two people who love each other to selling someone a playboy while using religion as your excuse.. notice I didn’t say reason, I said EXCUSE!!!

      • Mike

        It’s not really about love though. Some people love playboy but you won’t expect to find it in a *Christian* bookstore. A father and adult son could love each other but maybe even you wouldn’t support their wedding. Devout Christians believe same sex marriage is wrong let those couples find *secular* stores and venues to support their weddings. There are such things as secular non-Christian weddings you know. Leave Christians alone to serve other Christians if they want.

    • crackers81

      That is hilarious. Right, because a guy fully covered in a dress, or even just two guys getting tuxedos, is anything remotely like a woman baring her whole body for the purposes of sexual arousal. Grasping at straws much?

      • Mike

        Plenty of people see nothing wrong with playboy, obviously. The point is (for those with low IQs) you won’t find Playboy at a Christian bookstore because they believe it would be wrong to sell it, likewise you shouldn’t expect devout Christians to do anything to support or profit from same sex weddings since they believe it so be wrong. And a same sex wedding is pretty obvious and on a whole other level unlike whether a straight couple has had sex before marriage so that comparison that someone made doesn’t fly.

    • crackers81

      Agreed. And as a muslim, you will observe that you are not welcome in my store dressed like a common American harlot. You will wear a burka, and be accompanied by your male superiors or I will sell you nothing. Free trade for all!

  • James W

    Moving away from Nepa is the single greatest move I’ve ever made. It’s still chalk full of bigotry, racism and extreme ignorance coming from under educated people. The world is changing for the best. Get on board or take off to your cabin and stay there.

    • crackers81

      Central Pennsylvania is like north Texas. People here think “pride” and religion are life creeds. They will make a dark age for themselves in the middle of a cultural enlightenment and pat themselves on the back for how well they’ve done. Can I come with you?

  • ESchleich

    If you don’t like the stance of a business, don’t spend your money there. Pretty simple. It’s not like they are the only bridal store in a tri-county area. Jeezly Crow people. Why would you want to spend your money in a store where you obviously don’t like the proprietors? Wouldn’t you rather give your money to a bridal store that has your same core beliefs?

    • AJB

      I agree.. but at the same time, I’m not going to go around asking every corner store their stance on gay rights so I know where to buy my bread from. It’s a battle of the rights of the owners against the rights of the would-be customers. What if they refused to sell them dresses because they were women? Or because of their skin color? How about if they were denied BECAUSE they christians? No one is free until we are all free..

  • matthew york

    I was raised with a religious background and what I was taught was to love everyone for who they are and not to preach hate. Being gay isn’t a choice first of all. We were born gay just like you were born straight. It’s sad to think people just can’t look past sexual orientation and just see human beings. The next thing that is gonna happen if any of you get in office(which I highly doubt, you need a semblance of an i.q to do that) you’re gonna try to pull a genocide on the lgbt community and be a modern 21st century hitler. Grow up and learn that life isn’t alway about who is having sex with who. Learn to get to know who somebody is before you worry about who they are sleeping beside at the end of the night.

  • toomany

    First, let me start by asserting that I believe equal rights under the law should be afforded to everyone regardless if gender, sexual orientation, religious beliefs etc. That being said, while I believe it’s morally wrong to discriminate against same sex couples, the government has no right to force private business owners to provide goods or services if their religious beliefs do not conform with dame ax unions. The LGBT and other organizations who are trying to force this issue are, on the one hand saying that their rights are being fringed upon while not seeming to understand that they are attempting to remove the rights of business owners who don’t condone their lifestyle. Private businesses have the right to refuse service to anyone. There are businesses that are more than happy to provide these services to same sex couples and those businesses that refuse can be boycotted. Legally forcing them us not the solution. The government is not our morality police.

    • Rodger fox

      Your forgetting we already have precedent for this, it’s illegal to deny service to someone solely based on gender or race, this is just extending that to sexual orientation. It as much trampling on the rights of the business owner as saying you can’t refuse to serve someone because of their gender or race and to pretend it’s anything else is just lying to yourself

    • crackers81

      Incorrect. You may not LIKE it, but they absolutely do have the right to pass this type of law. Such laws were passed in the 1960’s prohibiting business owners from discriminating against black people so there most certainly is constitutional legal precedent.

      Sorry, but no one ever had the right to entirely free trade sans regulations and the government IS free to pass said regulations. They’d better, too, lest our central Pennsylvania home become known as a safe haven for racists and homophobes.

  • Lloyd Schmucatelli

    I cant help but wonder what this is. Is it a war for equal rights or a war on christian principles? Or some confusing blend of both. If someone doesn’t want to sell you something, go somewhere else. Making a stink about it, makes you look like an idiot. If your a business owner, sometimes you have to wear blinders. Put a sign on your building that says Christian Bridal Boutique or something like that. But if your open and someone, gay, straight, bent left, bent right or whatever is trying to give you money, maybe its ok to just TAKE IT!!!

    P.S. Bloomsburg council, keep you grubby paws OUT OF IT!!! No matter what ordinances you pass on this, it wont change anything. You cant legislate peoples feelings. How about curbing the drug problem in your “quaint” little town.

    • Mike

      It’s definitely a war on Christianity, If it were about equal rights then they would support unmarried equality and be against special rights for married people.

      • Rodger fox

        No, a war on christians would invlove more lions and less boy kissing, Christians are waging a war against boys kissing though, since they lost the wars against woman and those pesky coloreds voting and being able to shop where they want.

    • crackers81

      …except that it actually is their job to handle these matters. So their “grubby paws”, by definition of their job titles, are and WILL be involved. Nice attempt at hiding your bias though.

      • Lloyd Schmucatelli

        My bias, moron?? RE-read my post and you will see it is FOR and AGAINST all parties involved!! I’ve been waiting to see how long it would take to get accused of some sort of bias. So typical, so pathetic.

    • Rodger fox

      If a buisness is open to anyone to walk in off the street then it is not privet in the way you think it is, if you have to be a member to shop there then it is. If it’s open to the general public then they don’t have the right to deny service based on race, gender, or religion and one of those 3 is a choice, why shouldn’t something that isn’t a choice, your sexuality, not be included in the things you can’t discriminate against?

  • Kat

    I agree. They got what they want now let them open businesses to suite their needs . Private business is exactly that, private.

    • Rodger fox

      By that logic there should be convenience stores for black people, restaurant where you can’t order if your a female?

    • crackers81

      That is not at all what the term “private” means in economics. But cutsie attempt at using industry language to try and make it look like you actually have bothered to educate yourself about the issue.

  • jdog

    Everybody needs to calm the hell down. Borough councils need to run borough government, and private business needs to run their business. Separation of both is necessary. Stop jamming the gay thing down our throats, no pun intended.

    • Rodger fox

      Everybody needs to calm the hell down. Borough councils need to run borough government, and private business needs to run their business. Separation of both is necessary. Stop jamming the black thing down our throats, no pun intended.

      There I backdated it to stuff said in the 1950’s, enjoy the company your choosing to keep.

    • crackers81

      Translation: I’m a christian who was recently denied the “right” to use my religion as an excuse to deny people their civil liberties and I haven’t yet figured out how to grow up and deal with the fact that sometimes men touch weeners. I’m going to hide my culturally inexcusable bigotry behind economic terminology that doesn’t mean what I think it does in order to look like I’m just a good ol’ conservative trying to defend the free market.

  • DavidSauter

    its called a free counrty i am sick of agys guesds what be straight or get out deport them already!!!!1

    • crackers81

      Yes well Odin is just fine with it. And since this neck of the woods is primarily Germanic and Scandinavians, I guess your bronze age jewish zombie will have to get in line and wait his turn.

  • glenn

    I thought this was a free countrythe store owner can choose to serve whoever he wantsthere’s too many laws

    • shagtastique

      I agree. I, on a daily basis, deny service ay my business to anyone who displays the slightest hint of being a redneck, inbred, or christian.

    • AJB

      Wasn’t this the same thing store owners were saying when they were denying African Americans there goods/services??

  • Dave

    We fought for reasons of personal liberty. I do what I want. you dont have to like it. You do what you want and I dont have to like it. I dont have to agree with every perverted idea out there or liberty is dead. Funny how we always pick on mainstream to defend the minority. This business has the right to do what they want. If you dont like it you have the right to take your business elsewhere. Hopefully to another state.

  • Charlie Tuna

    To deny someone services based on their sexual orientation is like saying I’m going to deny you services because of your race or gender. It is really sad we have to even have to put laws into place just to assure everyone gets treated properly. I believe in a thing called love…for everyone.

  • Glenn

    If you own your own business and pay taxes. You should have the right to deny anyone service for any reason. This is a free Country and we have the right to choice. The town council needs to keep their noses out of other people’s businesses.

      • Rick Miles

        People have no control over their race and gender. They are FREE to CHOOSE their sexual orientation as much as a business owner should be FREE to CHOOSE how they run their business.

      • Rodger fox

        Hey Rick, It’s not a choice, trust me if it was there would be fare less gay people because of bigots like you. It has been proven sexuality is a set of traits spread across several genes.

    • crackers81

      Owning your business and paying your taxes does not give you free reign in any waking reality. You are still subject to laws and regulations. Maybe you should be, maybe you shouldn’t. But the fact is you’re not free to discriminate in public. The “private” in private business doesn’t mean what you think it means.

      And no, it’s not a “free country”. It never was, it never was intended to be. You don’t have a right to do anything you want just because you want to.

    • Rodger fox

      I’d say more like Trying to be happy while causing as little unhappiness as possible is closer to what life is, but it’s different for everyone anyway, life is about what you decide to make life about in the end. I do say you have one of the more noble ideas about it.

  • Free Enterprise

    So the rights of same sex couples are more important than the rights of PRIVATE businesses. Yes, same sex couples have the right now in PA to marry, but private business owners do not have the right to choose with whom they do or do not do business with? If they are a private entity, accepting no federal or state funds, they should have the right to decide with whom they choose to do business. If your business is not accepted in one place, go spend your money somewhere else. Why would you want to support a business owner by giving him or her your money if you knew they were not accepting of your lifestyle anyway?

    • Rodger fox

      They aren’t allowed to discriminate based on race, gender or religious affiliation either, are you against that too?

      • crackers81

        Of course he’s not against those other things. He’d have to face an angry public if he were. He’s just another coward hiding his religious bigotry behind industry terms that don’t mean what he thinks they mean (“private”) in the hopes no one will draw the parallel between his abhorrent behavior and those of his grandparents when they had special words and business policies regarding black people. …but don’t look now, someone’s got a crayon.

  • Marjorie Danley

    I really could care less of about anyone’s sexual orientation, but certainly get tired of having it shoved in my face all the time. Just keep it to yourself and I truly believe it would be more accepted.

    • Rodger fox

      I’ll buy that as soon as you get angry about things like heterosexual couples holding hands or kissing in public, if you think that is ok then you have no right to say a same sex couple doing the same things is shoving it in your face. It’s about equality not hiding it from everyone so your excepted.

      • Rodger fox

        Just like they went out of their way to tell you that you have to serve those pesky black people hu?

    • crackers81

      Oh noes! Poor you. You had to hear about something on the news. SHOVED IN YOUR FACE oh god how will you conceal the bruises? Get over yourself. Extending the exact same civil liberties and protections to gay people that we extend to literally EVERYONE else in society is not having an agenda shoved in your face. But thanks for outing yourself as a bigot. It makes the jobs of reasonable people that much easier.

  • Krazy Furlady

    What does it matter the sexual preference of a person. They are a business providing services and products to consumers. So they should do what their primary goal is. To me this is just close minded ancient values that should be obsolete!

    • JT

      Just as homosexuals now have the legal right to marry in PA based on their choice to do so, likewise, private business owners have the right to choose to make business decisions for their business, and have the right and choice not to participate in activities that are in direct contradiction to their faith. It would be discriminatory for the business owners not to be permitted to exercise their right to their own religious beliefs. I know the owners personally and they are kind and loving people.

    • Rodger fox

      That is the point of the ordinance, trying to get people to stop being closed minded and denying service to someone based on something they have no control over.

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