EDITORIAL: A business lesson in tolerance

The Los Angeles Times
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January 2, 2013
Issues: 

The owner of a trolley tour company in Annapolis, Md., has decided to close down one portion of his business — old-fashioned trolleys for wedding parties — rather than extend the service to same-sex couples. He has every right to do so, but he should knock off his attempts to persuade lawmakers to sanction his real hope: to discriminate against gay couples in his business. Matt Grubbs owns Discover Annapolis Tours and says his Christian beliefs conflict with providing services to same-sex couples. He'd rather not serve them. That created a problem, however. Once a business is open to the public, it cannot discriminate against racial or religious minorities or other protected groups — which in Maryland, as in California, includes gays. Grubbs' choice thus was simple: Either offer the service to all or get into another line of work. He chose to close. Unfortunately, Grubbs now is trying something else. He has urged potential clients to push for a legislative exemption to non-discrimination laws for wedding vendors. That's important to nip in the bud. States can't pick and choose so that some people can discriminate against gay people or discriminate against them under certain circumstances. That's as unconscionable as denying service to interracial couples or those of other religions.