Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Annapolis business man closes wedding service rather than include same-sex couples

The owner of an Annapolis trolley company says he'll no longer offer wedding services because he opposes same-sex marriage.

Discover Annapolis Tours has long been a fixture among the city’s wedding venues. Its famous “trolley” buses are often garlanded and filled with flowers and used as a kind of limousine for brides and their retinues on their wedding day.

Owner Matt Grubbs said that he will be foregoing an estimated $50,000 in annual income by retiring the trolleys from weddings. The company’s website currently declines to offer an explanation, saying that full details will be made available on January 1, 2013, the first day that same sex couples will be allowed to marry in the state.

The Baltimore Sun reports that Discover Annapolis owner Matt Grubbs wrote to a potential client, a straight man, Chris Belkot, that his company is Christian and therefore won't participate in Maryland's inclusive laws.

"We're a Christian-owned business, and we are not able to lend support to gay marriages," Grubbs wrote. "And as a public accommodation, we cannot discriminate between gay or straight couples, so we had to stop doing all wedding transportation."

Grubbs then urged Belkot write to his representatives to "request they amend the new marriage law to allow an exemption for religious conviction for the layperson in the pews." Grubbs also described marriage equality as "repressive bigoty."

He went on, "The law exempts my minister from doing same-sex weddings, and the Knights of Columbus don't have to rent out their hall for a gay wedding reception, but somehow my religious convictions don't count for anything."

Shocked and appalled by Grubbs' comments, Belkot wrote back, "It is your right to run your business any way you see fit, but let's be honest here, you drive a trolley up and down a street. Not exactly God's work."

Anti-LGBT discrimination, like racial, age, disability, religious and gender discrimination, is illegal in all of Maryland’s public accommodations.

(via RawStory)

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