A longtime fixture of the Maryland wedding scene will no longer offer services to couples planning to tie the knot because its owner is opposed to same-sex marriage.
The Baltimore Sun reports that the owner of Discover Annapolis Tours, which is famous for its old-fashioned trolley rides, is expected to post a full explanation of the decision on his company's website on New Year's Day, which is the first day that same-sex couples will be allowed to marry in Maryland.
Discover Annapolis Tours owner Matt Grubbs effectively sidesteps Maryland's law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in public accommodations by axing wedding celebrations entirely, the publication points out. He is quoted by Patch as saying in an email to a prospective client:
"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."
Other reports indicate that Grubbs acknowledged the move will cost his company approximately $50,000 in annual revenue. Meanwhile, Discover Annapolis Tours will still provide tours and other site-seeing services.
The Patch report pointed out that Grubbs hoped to ask Maryland's General Assembly to give his company the right to refuse services to same-sex couples on religious grounds.
Earlier this year, the owners of a Vermont country inn agreed it would no longer host weddings or receptions after settling a lawsuit that accused the business of refusing to host a lesbian couple's reception, according to the Associated Press. Meanwhile, the owner of a Colorado-based bakery that denied a wedding cake to an engaged gay couple said he'd sooner shutter his business than "compromise" his beliefs.
Also on HuffPost:
An Iowa lesbian couple might have hoped to find a wedding cake that was both delicate and sweet, but they say <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/iowa-wedding-cake-lesbian-couple_n_1092789.html" target="_blank">their experience with a Des Moines-based baker</a> left behind a sour taste. As KCCI-TV<a href="http://www.kcci.com/news/29753206/detail.html" target="_hplink"> is reporting</a>, the owner of Victoria's Cake Cottage refused to bake a cake for Trina Vodraska and Janelle Sievers, who are planning a June wedding, because she is Christian. Victoria Childress, who runs her bakery from home, says it's her right as a business owner to turn away customers."I said, 'I'll tell you I'm a Christian, and I do have convictions.' And I said, 'I'm sorry to tell you, but I'm not going to be able to do your cake," Childress, who met the couple during a taste-testing appointment, said. "I didn't do the cake because of my convictions for their lifestyle. It is my right, and it's not to discriminate against them. It's not so much to do with them, it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will answer [to] Him for."
A Phoenix-based lesbian couple cried foul after <a href="http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/2012/02/28/20120228phoenix-sheraton-reach-out-ousted-lesbian-couple.html" target="_hplink">being told to "get a room" by a hotel restaurant manager</a> during a romantic dinner. <em>The Arizona Republic</em> says Kenyata White and Aeimee Diaz, both 38, chose to celebrate their two-year anniversary at the District American Kitchen and Wine Bar, located inside the Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel, on Sunday because they met there. "My partner and I were reminiscing...in one of the tall booths," White told the paper. "I had my arm around her neck, and she had her hand around my waist. I gave her a hug for about a minute, pulled myself away to give her a quick kiss, and then we continued talking." White told AZ Family that <a href="http://www.azfamily.com/news/A-Lesbian-couple-is-kicked-out-of-a-Downtown-hotel-after-sharing-a-kiss-140801993.html" target="_hplink">she and Diaz were then approached</a> by a restaurant manager, who "came up to us and said we should get a room. That our behavior was inappropriate and we should leave the establishment."
Rose Marie Belforti, the town clerk in Ledyard, N.Y., drew national attention after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The town's government is behind Belforti, saying it cannot force her to issue licenses.
A Florida-based lesbian couple said they were humiliated by their driver's license application "nightmare" after the Pinellas County DMV rejected their name change request after an hour-long wait.
The owner of a new gay bar on Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood said he was refused service because a printing company thinks homosexuality is wrong. The printing company's owner argued he didn't approve of the artwork on the promotional material.
Earlier this year, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit against the Wildflower Inn in Lyndonville, Vermont after the proprietors <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joseph-alexander/a-change-is-gonna-come_1_b_1079932.html" target="_hplink">refused to host</a> Katherine Baker and Ming-Lien Linsley's same-sex wedding reception. As ABC <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/vermont-inn-sued-refusal-host-gay-couples-wedding/story?id=14110076#.TsFfOoBPkqU" target="_hplink">is reporting</a>, the inn updated its website shortly thereafter to announce it is "no longer hosting weddings or special events."
In August, Alix Genter, a lesbian bride-to-be, claimed to have been denied service at Here Comes the Bride in Somers Point, N.J., after the salon's manager said she didn't want to be associated with the pending "illegal action," <a href="http://articles.philly.com/2011-08-18/news/29900898_1_bridal-shop-dresses-gay-marriage" target="_hplink">according to the</a><em> Philadelphia Daily News</em>.