quit doing it."
Christian businesses, he said, frequently choose to offer better employee benefits and to follow ethical business practices because of their beliefs, though sometimes it also means taking risks.
Chick-Fil-A president Dan Carthy's public statements against same-sex marriage brought both backlash and huge crowds this year as patronizing or boycotting the fast-food chain became a political statement.
Gosnell pointed to the national crafting retailer Hobby Lobby, whose evangelical owners in September sued the Obama administration over a health care provision that employees' insurance plans cover emergency contraception.
Gosnell, who said he has not met Grubbs, added that the trolley company's decision on same-sex weddings does not necessarily reveal Grubbs' feelings about gay people or transporting them to other events.
"It could be that it's not so much that he's against people, so much as he's against a policy or law that has been put in place," Gosnell said. "That is not abnormal for any business owner to take a position about any law that affects them."
Legal experts said the state law forbidding discrimination against sexual orientation has been on the books since 2001. Back then, the General Assembly added sexual orientation to the list of protected classes that already included race, gender, disability and marital status. Business owners can no more refuse a trolley for a same-sex wedding than they can refuse to serve an African-American at a lunch counter.
Towson Attorney Mark F. Scurti, an adjunct professor at the University of Baltimore's law school, served on the task force that recommended the General Assembly extend protection to gays.
"The things the law was meant to prevent is the very thing this gentlemen is trying to do: say, because of my personal beliefs, 'I'm not going to let my company be rented out for gay weddings,'" Scurti said. "Since 2001, if a gay couple went to him -- take out the word marriage -- and said, 'We want to rent your trolley because we want to have a celebration of our domestic partnership,' he still had to accommodate them."
Grubbs' trolleys, with their interior lighting and quaint feel, had nearly become a staple in Annapolis' wedding scene, wedding planners and photographers said.
"You will see trolleys every Saturday in Annapolis, and most of them will have a bride," said Mike Busada, owner of Mike B Photography. "Fifty percent of the weddings I do in Annapolis have a trolley. ... Someone else will come in and fill that niche. There's definitely a demand for it."
For more than a decade, American Limousines in Baltimore has been filling part of that niche as the main trolley competitor, sending the company's two trolleys to Annapolis events and even helping Grubbs with larger events, said company owner Gary Day.
"I don't think he knew that I was gay," Day said of Grubbs, whom he talked with after Grubbs decided to leave the wedding industry. The topic of Day's sexual orientation and his partner of many years never came up.
"I just find it baffling," Day said. "You're providing a service. A doctor doesn't have to like you to take care of you."
Day had considered selling one of the trolleys but now plans to keep it for another year, hoping to fill the new vacuum in Annapolis' wedding trolley scene.
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