Trying to reconcile your personal, religious beliefs that may conflict with running your business can be a difficult thing to juggle, which is apparently why the owner of popular trolley company has decided to walk away from the wedding business altogether rather than be hired by gay couples. The man says he didn’t want to compromise his Christian convictions by accepting same-sex couples who might hire a trolley for their wedding fun.
The owner of the Annapolis tour company says he’s going to ditch out on taking any couples and their wedding parties for rides because he’d have to take gay couples as well as the straight ones, and his religious beliefs conflict with that, reports the Baltimore Sun.
To that end, he told the Annapolis Patch: “We’re a Christian-owned company, and we just can’t support gay marriages. We’re not trying to make a statement. We’re not trying to make a point. We’re just trying to be faithful Christians.”
He also wants his clients to side with him and lobby state lawmakers to institute an exemption for wedding vendors that would allow them to abstain from taking business due to religious beliefs. Same-sex marriage will become legal in Maryland in less than a week, so he’s cutting out while he can.
By walking away from the marriage business altogether, the owner is potentially avoiding discrimination lawsuits that might be brought against the company for refusing to cater to gay weddings.
“If they’re providing services to the public, they can’t discriminate who they provide their services to,” said the general counsel for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, according to the Baltimore Sun. That organization is the one which enforces the laws that don’t allow businesses to discriminate on the basis of things like race, sexual orientation, religion and more.
It’s his business, and therefore he can do what he wants, as long as he doesn’t allow anyone to use his service whatsoever. The owner said he will post a full explanation on his company website by Jan.
He did admit to Eye on Annapolis to sending an email to a potential straight client that read: “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 man who’d wanted to hire the company for his heterosexual wedding replied in an email, via the Annapolis Patch: “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.”
He’s not the only business to step away from thousands of dollars in potential wedding revenue. According to the Maryland Wedding Professionals Association, the trolley company is the second vendor to get skittish over the same-sex marriage law.
We’ve seen discrimination accusations against other businesses elsewhere, including B&B owners in Canada who reportedly refused to rent a room to a gay couple and were subsequently ordered to pay $4,500 to the couple to make up for it.
Religious Wedding Vendor Seeks Exemption for Gay Marriages [Annapolis Patch]
Annapolis Tour Company Turns Away Business Because Of Gay Marriage [Eye On Annapolis]
Opposed to same-sex marriage, company ends wedding business [Baltimore Sun]