An Annapolis company whose old-fashioned trolleys are iconic in the city's wedding scene has abandoned the nuptial industry rather than serve same-sex couples. The owner of Discover Annapolis Tours said he decided to walk away from $50,000 in annual revenue instead of compromising his Christian convictions when same-sex marriages become legal in Maryland in less than a week. And he has urged prospective clients to lobby state lawmakers for a religious exemption for wedding vendors. While most wedding businesses across the country embraced the chance to serve same-sex couples, a small minority has struggled to balance religious beliefs against business interests. Wedding vendors elsewhere who refused to accommodate same-sex couples have faced discrimination lawsuits — and lost.Background
A Christian conservative group financed an appeal in the case in New Mexico — where same-sex marriages are not recognized but, as in Maryland, "public accommodation" laws prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation. A lesbian couple tried to hire the photographer for their commitment ceremony, but the photographer's attorneys argued that artists have a constitutional right to refuse to endorse a message they do not support, according to the Religion News Service. Two New Mexico courts have sided with the lesbian couple who sued, and the state's highest court agreed to hear the case.Businesses lose the right to choose who to provide services too
Frank Schubert, the political strategist who ran campaigns against same-sex marriage in Maryland and three other states this year, said opponents predicted collateral damage from legalizing same-sex unions. "This is exactly what happens," Schubert said, 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."Editor's note - Old-time Libertarian precept: You should be free to do whatever you so please, so long as your rights DO NOT INFRINGE UPON THE RIGHTS OF OTHERS. (Emphasis added).