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.