Religious Wedding Vendor Seeks Exemption for Gay Marriages
Discover Annapolis Tours says they have shut down their wedding services—which earn the company $50,000 a year—indefinitely.
An Annapolis wedding vendor plans to ask Maryland's General Assembly to give his company and others like him the right to refuse services to gay couples on religious grounds.
"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," Discover Annapolis Tours owner Matt Grubbs wrote in an email.
The email was provided to Patch by Chris Belkot on Nov. 29. He received it from Grubbs after Belkot inquired about using the company's wedding services this spring.
Grubbs confirmed the email, and said his attorney advised him to shut down the wedding part of his business immediately because he could be sued for refusing services to same-sex couples.
"We’re a Christian-owned company, and we just can't support gay marriages," Grubbs said. "We're not trying to make a statement. We're not trying to make a point. We're just trying to be faithful Christians."
The decision will cost him approximately $50,000 a year in revenue.
"We would love to keep it open because a lot of people get engaged over Thanksgiving and Christmas and then call us," Grubbs said. "We hope to get back into it if we can get a religious exemption."
Grubbs' business, which provided trolley cars to transport wedding parties and guests from churches to receptions, still provides tours and other site seeing services.
An amendment granting a broader religious exemption wouldn't need to go to referendum or jump through any other special hoops just because same-sex marriage did, said Alan Brody, a spokesman for Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler.
But that doesn't mean it's likely to come to fruition in the 2013 legislative session.
So, for now, Discover Annapolis Tours is out of the wedding business.