Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Owners of Gay Bar Support Right to Discriminate - for Themselves, Not Others

by Bretigne Shaffer

This story pretty much sums up everything that is wrong with identity politics (as contrasted, say, with political views based on things like principles):
"A popular gay bar in West Hollywood, Calif. is giving homophobic politicians a taste of their own intolerance.
"The Abbey announced Monday that it is banning, effective immediately, any legislator who supports bills to discriminate against gays and lesbians. The bar is keeping a list of politicians who voted for such bills by the door for the bouncer's reference. Meanwhile, bar staff is currently compiling dozens of headshot photos of the politicians to put up as well, a representative from the bar told The Huffington Post."
The bills they're talking about don't themselves discriminate against gays and lesbians, nor do they require anyone else to. The bills, proposed in several states including Kansas and South Dakota "...would allow businesses, religious organizations and even public servants to discriminate against gay individuals." Allowing people to engage in an activity is just a little different from engaging in that activity or even promoting it.
Of course I'm all for banning politicians. If I had a gay bar (or, in my case, a straight and married bar), I'd ban them all. The owners of The Abbey have the right to ban whomever they choose from their establishment. But so should everyone else.
This isn't the first time the owners have exercised their right to free association:
"The bar banned bachelorette parties in 2012, calling them a 'slap in the face' because marriage wasn't legal for everyone. Staff members began permitting bachelorette parties again after the U.S. Supreme Court overruled California's gay marriage ban last year."
"I’ve learned that I can’t stop crazy, ignorant or stupid but I can stop it from coming through my doors," says The Abbey's founder, David Cooley. "I want to send a message to all those people out there who conflate Christian values with discrimination: we don’t want your kind here.”
Good for him. He shouldn't be forced to serve people whose views he finds offensive. But what about people who conflate "not forcibly preventing discrimination" with advocating it? Or those who advance the idea that it's acceptable to discriminate against some groups of people but not others? Are they allowed in?
The Abbey is a fabulous gay bar, by the way. They do a wonderful brunch and have the best calamari in LA. They also have some ridiculously sweet desserts that probably should be banned. Just make sure you're not on their list of "undesirables" or you could find yourself without a table.
Bretigne Shaffer blogs at On the Banks.
RW note: The Abbey actually is a pretty cool place. I have been there once, maybe twice, with a couple of Ethiopian girls.


  1. i wonder if they understand the ideology behind their decision. is the owner standing up for private property rights or just making an anti-discrimination statement? either way this seems to be a positive development. also, i love the abbey, been many times with my wife-the gin martini's are cold and HUGE.

  2. Exactly right, B! If I want to discriminate against straights, or Christians, or White people, or short people it is MY right. The government has no right to tell me otherwise.

    If I want to run a business that caters exclusively to short black lesbian atheist vegans, so be it!

    1. Does however beg the question of just exactly how one proves they are a short black lesbian atheist vegan.

      Gonna make for some interesting photo ID's...

    2. Interesting? More like scary. The only group more annoying than lesbians are vegans.

      Here's a joke-

      Lesbian- "KNOCK KNOCK"

      Man- "Who's there"

      Lesbian- "THAT'S NOT FUNNY!"

  3. Glad you pointed out who you were with when you walked into the gay bar Wenzel. Not just one but "a couple of Ethiopian girls".


    1. They were Ethiopians - that's his story, and he's sticking to it...