From the Baltimore Sun:
An Annapolis company whose old-fashioned trolleys are iconic in the city's wedding scene has abandoned the nuptial industry rather than serve same-sex couples.So despite the victory of marriage equality in Maryland, the fear and loathing of Teh Gay is still thriving here.
The owner of Discover Annapolis Tours said he decided to walk away from $50,000 in annual revenue instead of compromising his Christian convictions when same-sex marriages become legal in Maryland in less than a week.
More over the fold.
Matt Grubbs, the owner of the trolley company, would rather his company take a hit to the tune of $50,000 anually because if he stays in the wedding-trolley business, by law he would not be allowed to discriminate against same-sex couples. That's how much he hates gay folks.
This situation came to light when a (straight) prospective groom, Chris Belkot, from New Jersey, planning to wed his bride in Annapolis in April, contacted the trolley company to see if they could be contracted to provide transportation for wedding guests. Grubbs reply to Belkot stated
"we used to do weddings until recently. But we're a Christian-owned business, and we are not able to lend support to gay marriages. And as a public accommodation, we cannot discriminate between gay or straight couples, so we had to stop doing all wedding transportation."So Grubbs is just another bigot who is clothing his bigotry in his religious convictions. (I continue to be appalled at how such people seem to assume that Christian = Hate teh gayz. I know that this is not true, and it must be offensive to broader-minded Christians.) In any case, it will not break my heart to know his revenue is going to take a hit.
Grubbs' message went on to suggest Maryland residents contact their lawmakers to "request they amend the new marriage law to allow an exemption for religious conviction for the layperson in the pew. 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."
Belkot, 31, forwarded Grubbs' email to Annapolis news websites and fired off a response to Grubbs that read, in part, "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."
And Chris Belkot deserves many thanks as a straight ally whose activity brought in sufficient attention to get it into the Baltimore Sun.
For more than a decade, American Limousines in Baltimore has been filling part of that niche as the main trolley competitor, sending the company's two trolleys to Annapolis events and even helping Grubbs with larger events, said company owner Gary Day.
"I don't think he knew that I was gay," Day said of Grubbs, whom he talked with after Grubbs decided to leave the wedding industry. The topic of Day's sexual orientation and his partner of many years never came up.