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Maryland

Maryland trolley business opts out of weddings to avoid same-sex couples

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

The owner of Annapolis’ iconic old-fashioned trolleys that are often synonymous with the city’s wedding scene, said he is abandoning the wedding industry, rather than be forced to serve same-sex couples when Marylard’s marriage equality law takes effect next month.

Matt Grubbs, owner of Discover Annapolis Tours, said he refuses to compromise his Christian convictions, and has urged prospective clients to lobby state lawmakers for a religious exemption for wedding vendors, reported The Baltimore Sun.

Grubbs said he has no choice but to walk away from $50,000 in annual revenue, because state law prohibits him from discriminating against gays.

“If they’re providing services to the public, they can’t discriminate who they provide their services to,” said Glendora Hughes, general counsel for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights; the commission enforces the public accommodation laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating on the basis of race, sexual orientation and other characteristics.

Grubbs has refused interviews, but confirmed that he sent an email last month to Chris Belkot, a prospective client, in which he said “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.”

“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,” Grubbs wrote, urging Belkot to lobby lawmakers to “amend the new marriage law to allow an exemption for religious conviction for the layperson in the pew.”

Belkot, surprised by Grubbs’ email, fired off a response 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.”

On November 6, voters in Maryland approved the Civil Marriage Protection Act, giving same-sex couples the right to marry. The law takes effect Jan. 1.

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53 more reader comments:

  1. What self-respecting queen wants to get married on a working tolley rollin’ down the street like any old pimp?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 3:56pm
  2. Are you frigging kidding me?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 3:58pm
  3. His right, but will be a loss of a ton of money. Our dollars are just as green.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 3:59pm
  4. As a Canadian I often shake my head in bewilderment at goings on across the border. :-(

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 3:59pm
  5. His loss. Maybe someone else will start a trolley business and get that $50,000 a year he is forfieting.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 3:59pm
  6. Maryland has been a real pain in the ass about the whole same sex marriage issue.. They make the whole U.S. look bad.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:00pm
  7. Well he’ll be outta thousands of dollars the stupid biggot..

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:01pm
  8. Dumb move could have brought a lot of money into his business

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:03pm
  9. Boycott time, force them out of business until they crawl.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:06pm
  10. Fine with me, either treat everyone equally or lose ALL of the cash.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:07pm
  11. same as businesses in 1950 and 1960 close to avoid serving black people

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:07pm
  12. lmao. He is only punishing himself.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:07pm
  13. Yes let someone else make the money! Funny because this guy mentions his Christian convictions but I am sure he provided service to people who were married who were not Christian. This is what I find so hypocritical. People and their claim of Christian convictions are a joke. It is just blatant bigotry towards gays and lesbians. It is not religious convictions. Otherwise, he would not serve anyone but a Christian. JOKE!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:08pm
  14. I wonder how fast the bigots would cry foul, if we treated them the same way?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:10pm
  15. Disgraceful

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:10pm
  16. Some people just don’t like money.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:11pm
  17. @Keith Agreed! And us lesbians don’t do trolleys. And if we did, we bring our own hooked to the back of the 4X4 :)

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:12pm
  18. His fault.. However, not every Marylander feels the way he does!!! We may not leas the nation but we won our right!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:13pm
  19. I’m with you Karen!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:20pm
  20. The old goat….

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:26pm
  21. While it’s certainly his right to do so, it’s a shame there are so many bigots like this out there. Fortunately more and more people are realizing that we are not defective, or monsters of some kind. I am hopeful for the future. My nephew is twenty years old and cannot understand why GLBT’s are discriminated against. The next few generations will play a huge role in our achievement of equal rights. They are being raised to ignore color, gender, and sexual orientation.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:34pm
  22. Well there goes the farm! lol

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:54pm
  23. He shouldn’t get away with this. It is his right but it’s a backhanded way of discriminating. There’s no excuse for that.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 4:55pm
  24. Lol They’re afraid we’ll sing The Trolley Song

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 5:53pm
  25. what an idiot. I hope he goes broke.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 6:00pm
  26. He will change his mind when his business is bankrupt. Money isn’t discriminatory.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 6:48pm
  27. It’s their right to do that. A stupid business decision though. But it’s perfectly legal. Of course, when it dawns on them that some of their everyday riders may also be H-O-M-O-S-E-X-U-A-L-S they might just decide to go out of business altogether!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 7:31pm
  28. How short sighted can one person be?

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 8:13pm
  29. People shoot themselves in the foot so they can blame us for their failures – reprehensible at best.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 8:13pm
  30. hahaha the customer’s response…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 9:21pm
  31. I say good riddance to any company that would do that! May you enjoy your new lower earnings!!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 9:21pm
  32. Quite frankly I think religion should be removed as a protected class in discrimination laws since religious people are the ones doing all the discriminating

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 9:31pm
  33. Good riddance, don’t let your trolley run over your ass on the way out.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 26, 2012 at 10:07pm
  34. How stupid!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:38am
  35. Their choice and their lost revenues.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:39am
  36. Fingers crossed you go the hell out of business then.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:40am
  37. good, didn’t want my money going to anti equality anyway.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:41am
  38. What would happen if they opted out of interracial marriages? Hmmm.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:42am
  39. What would happen if they opted out of interracial marriages? Hmmm.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:42am
  40. Ok. His call, his loss. Some other smart entrepreneur will pick up any slack. Like walking into a $50,000+ business start-up opportunity. Even banks will loan given that previous history info.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:43am
  41. if i ever vist there i just opp out of ridinng there trolley troll would be beter name

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:47am
  42. I live in Maryland, same sex supporter, christian and this is sum FUCKED UP shit hearing about this trolley business, I would piss on there business

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 8:51am
  43. He’ll change his mind in a year or so. Money will trump his belief before long. He’s probably crying about this to his mistress.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:03am
  44. What a jerk. Change with the times. Doesn’t the bible say to follow and respect the laws of the land? Doesn’t that trump his supposed religious beliefs that gays are bad?

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:10am
  45. Gays don’t want to get married on a biggot trolley anyway.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:15am
  46. what a pos… id like to slap him

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:19am
  47. If those are his beliefs then whatever.. Im glad that he HAS to stop ALL marriages. His loss.. Im sure there are plenty of other ppl who will jump at this opportunity.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:23am
  48. Bigotted idiot! He’ll soon change his tune when the ready starts running low……

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 9:54am
  49. good for him. glad to see that he is treating everyone equally. Hes a idiot business man, but thank you for treating everyone equally!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:52am
  50. Moron.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 10:55am
  51. Well that is his right…he may choose to be an ignorant asswipe!

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 11:13am
  52. God damn. Where’d he get the idea that gay weddings would ever be as tacky as some hets’? I know we’re not ALL fabulous, but puh-leeze.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 12:04pm
  53. Time for a laugh.
    Unfortunately, many of the comments are, sadly, ugly. So many people seem stuck on the idea of returning intolerance for intolerance.

    Posted on Thursday, December 27, 2012 at 12:08pm