Good On Ya for Standing Up for Your Principles. Now Go Away.

A business owner in Annapolis has found that his deeply-held convictions are about to come into conflict with the law, and rather than give up his principles, he’s going to, if not close up shop, then at least scale back shop:

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.

(Source: Washington Post.)

This seems as clear a case I can imagine of a business owner having to choose between money and bigotry. He chose bigotry. I wish him the best of luck in not getting hit in the ass by the door on the way out.

As far as can make out, he’s not actually shutting down his business. He’s just pulling his business out (heh-heh) of the wedding business.

In case anyone’s wondering why he can’t just pick and choose his customers:

“If they’re providing services to the public, they can’t discriminate who they provide their services to,” said Glendora Hughes, general counsel for the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights. The commission enforces public accommodation laws that prohibit businesses from discriminating on the basis of race, sexual orientation and other characteristics.

If your business is open to the public, it’s open to the public, not just to those parts of the public that you approve of. If a state passes a law saying “Jews and black people can shop anywhere that gentiles and white people can”, that’s great, but if you then add “unless the shop owner doesn’t feel like it”, that makes the law meaningless.

Predictably, the owner of Discover Annapolis Tours, Matt Grubbs, has his defenders:

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 crosshairs of this debate. . . . The law doesn’t protect people of faith. It simply doesn’t.”

The first thing I note is that “religious liberty” here is used the same way as “states’ rights” in discussing the US Civil War: then, the states’ right in question was the right to own slaves. Here, the religious liberty at issue is the right to discriminate against gay people.

The second thing I note is the phrase “people of faith”. There’s just so much unthinking privilege packed into those three words. There’s the assumption that faith is a Good Thing; that believing things just ‘cos is something worth defending. And then there’s the assumption that all “people of faith” must agree with his views. I can name any number of self-professed “people of faith” who’d disagree with him.

Still, I suppose it could’ve been worse. At least Grubbs is complying with the law, rather than, say, suing for the right to discriminate. All the same: buh-bye.

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