A company in the wedding industry based in Annapolis, Maryland will close its doors, rather than face lawsuits for refusing to serve same-sex marriage couples.
Discover Annapolis Tours, which runs old-fashioned trolley tours in Annapolis, will close their $50,000 a year business. The owner of the trolley tour company would rather shut down his business than compromise his moral beliefs when same-sex marriage law becomes legal at the beginning of the year.
Wedding vendors who refused to provide services to same-sex couples have faced discrimination lawsuits in the past– and lost. Glendora Hughes, general counsel for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights stated: “If they’re providing services to the public, they can’t discriminate who they provide their services to..”
According to the Maryland Wedding Professionals Association, Discover Tours is the second company to refuse business because of the same-sex marriage law. The law was upheld in the November election.
The company’s owner, Matt Grubbs, has encouraged his clients to lobby the state for a religious exemption for wedding vendors. He suggested people contact their representatives 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.”
Frank Shubert, who ran the Maryland campaign against same-sex marriage, said: “This is exactly what happens,” adding that religious liberty is “right in the cross hairs of this debate. … The law doesn’t protect people of faith. It simply doesn’t.”