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Annapolis Tour Company Turns Away Business Because Of Gay Marriage

| November 30, 2012, 09:02 PM | 9 Comments

They say that Annapolis is a friendly town. I tend to agree. But to a Princeton, NJ couple looking to get married in Annapolis, they are having second thoughts after a local businessman responded to their inquiry.

Chris and Claire are planning their March 2013 dream wedding in Annapolis and were trying to arrange transportation for their wedding guests between the church and the reception. Appropriately enough, she contacted Discover Annapolis Tours only to learn that they no longer offered their services for weddings.  Disappointed, Claire inquired as to why they changed their policy; and the response she received from the owner was shocking.

Thanks for asking, and 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.

If you live in Maryland, you might contact your senator and three delegates in the General Assembly and request they amend the new marriage law to allow an exemption for religious conviction for the lay person 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.

All the best,

Matt Grubbs

Discover Annapolis Tours

Annapolis Trolley

While every business has the right to operate their business as they feel best, I have often said that personal convictions (religious, sexual, political) should not be intertwined with  business. I understand that many people do not agree with the recent referendum on Question 6. But to me, it seems rather short-sighted to eliminate a large chunk of your business based on your disagreement over over gay marriage.

I contacted Matt Grubbs, the owner of Discover Annapolis Tours to see if the response he sent to the bride-to-be was legitimate and he sent back a singe word answer–“yep.”

I am not sure why Grubbs made the decision to explain his decision. A simple “we no longer offer transportation for weddings” would have sufficed. However, his response casts Annapolis (as a whole) in a very poor light.

My fiance and I have been planning our March wedding in Annapolis and we recently received the following response when we inquired about using a trolley service for our wedding guests. Even with the recent passing of the gay marriage in MD, we are sad to hear that some citizens and their small business still refuse to let go of their bigotry towards the LGBT community. We chose to get married in Annapolis because we love the friendly atmosphere of Annapolis (we actually live in Princeton, NJ) but this business just gives Annapolis a bad name.

So, Discover Annapolis Tours is not willing to transport any wedding because of their religious convictions.  When the Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference & Visitors Bureau recommends transportation services to the visitors of the City, will they be advising them of the new policy of Discover Annapolis Tours? As of now, they must not be aware of the new policy because they still suggest Annapolis Trolley as an appropriate mode of transportation for a wedding.

The new law supporting and legalizing gay marriage has the potential to bring a lot of business into our City. Our City has been known for centuries for welcoming everyone–from our founding fathers, to runaway slaves, and now to gay and lesbian couples who wish to become married.  As a City that derives a great amount of revenue from tourists–straight, gay and in between, we cannot afford to be known as a anti-gay or gay unfriendly.  From a pure business perspective, gay dollars spend just as well as straight dollars, and we need to be welcoming to all.

I hope that Discover Annapolis Tours will re-consider their position. Perhaps they could take a lesson from the Hard Rock Cafe….

Since 1971, our mission at Hard Rock has been to “do well by doing good” in our Local and Global Communities. In a world where Corporate Philanthropy has become a new business strategy for many organizations, we are proud to say that our pursuit to LOVE ALL – SERVE ALL® has been part of Hard Rock DNA since DAY 1.

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Category: OPINION

About the Author - John Frenaye

John is the publisher and editor of Eye On Annapolis. As a resident and business owner in Anne Arundel County for nearly 25 years, he realized that there was something missing in terms of community news–and Eye On Annapolis was born in late spring 2009.

John’s background is in the travel industry as a business owner, industry speaker, and travel writer. In terms of blogging and social media, he cut his teeth with MSNBC.com.

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Comments (9)

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  1. Kathleen_Booth says:

    Hmmm. It seems that Mr. Grubbs didn’t learn anything from the Chick fil’a incident. Regardless of how you feel personally, I will never understand why businesses feel the need to take a stand on these issues! This decision by Discover Annapolis Tours makes me, as an Annapolitan, incredibly embarrassed got my home town.

  2. Kyle says:

    Learn from Chick-fil-a? Do you have any idea how much MORE business they got from that?

  3. Kyle says:

    This started as a news story and turned into an op-ed. Easy unlike on Facebook.

  4. john public says:

    Yeah you might want to do follow up on stories before you talk about them. While its true they did get a lot more business on ONE day. They were actually steadily loosing business because of their stance, and when it became public to the media, they lost even more that they have since revised their stance.

  5. Kyle says:

    You might want to stay off lefty websites.

  6. john slagle says:

    [email protected]
    Husband. Conservative. New England sports. History buff. Law School graduate. Romney/Ryan 2012.

    You lost, stop whining

  7. The New Trolley Company says:

    I see a $50,000 a year business opportunity. Anybody know where I can get my hands on a trolley?

  8. Kimo says:

    Thank goodness some businesses are willing to stand up for what is right, even if it means major personal sacrifices.

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