Bil Browning

Mayor Blocks Liquor License for Town's Only Gay Bar

Filed By Bil Browning | August 19, 2011 1:15 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay bars, gay nightclub, Indiana, Lafayette, Mayor Roswarski, Zoolegers

If you didn't know better, you'd think this Journal & Courier article about the Lafayette, Indiana mayor refusing a bar a liquor license is nothing more than a local story about trying to keep the riffraff out of the downtown area. bottoms-up-bar-sign.jpgThat is, until you realize that it's the town's only gay bar that's being refused - a fact left out of the story unless you read between the lines. (emphasis mine)

An attempt to move the Zoolegers nightclub to a new downtown location has met opposition from a number of nearby property owners and Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski.

...the mayor has declined to include a letter supporting the request, which is a vitally important part of the process to get one of the liquor licenses aimed at spurring the number of restaurants and nightspots in downtown Lafayette and West Lafayette.

Roswarski reacted after receiving a petition that was circulated among property owners and businesses in the area of Sixth and Main streets, including people who live directly to the north in The Cracker Factory condominiums.

"Part of the application process is to get a letter from the mayor. It's an important part. Without the letter, they won't get the license," Roswarski said. "I chose not to send the letter. I don't think it's the right fit for people who live next door.
...
The petition presented to the mayor said issuing the riverfront liquor license could or would increase noise in the area from patrons and music, increase trash on the sidewalk and lead to patrons smoking and blocking the sidewalk while loitering near doorways.

The petition also warned of the possibility of increased graffiti and vandalism on the front of the building and in the condo garden alleyway and said the development might cause harassment of residents and people visiting other businesses as they park on Sixth Street.
...
City officials cannot remember an application for the $1,000 liquor license being turned down in the past.

Twenty-six other licenses have been issued to bars, nightclubs, and restaurants for the riverfront area. So let me see if I've got this "straight"...

The mayor has decided to passively block a liquor license for a gay bar by not writing a required letter of support as the city has done for over two dozen other establishments in an area where they are actively seeking new nightclubs. He literally says that LGBT people are not "the right fit" for people to live next door.

He's basing his decision on a barely veiled anti-gay petition signed by the owners of nine condos and a few nearby businesses. The petitioners cite the possibility that anti-gay bigots might vandalize the nightclub and that someone might get gay bashed. In fact, it might be *gasp!* innocent straight people who get "harassed."

The petition goes on to say the "block needs to be limited to neighborhood-type businesses, which would enhance the block as a residential area." Someone doesn't understand the difference between "residential" areas and "businesses." If you want businesses in your neighborhood, it's a mixed-use space - just as the neighborhood is already designated.

The building the nightclub wants to move into formerly housed a tavern and "a spot for young people to congregate and listen to music." The space has been used as a social gathering spot for decades. It just didn't have a gay bar in it.

The mayor, instead of treating all his city's residents equally, has taken the extraordinary step (first time in memory, remember?) of refusing to issue a perfunctory letter to keep the gay bar from opening and instead agrees that anti-gay violence that might spill over into straight people's lives is unacceptable. Instead of writing the letter and making sure the police investigate and arrest possible hate crimes against a vulnerable community, he sides with blaming the (potential) victims as bringing it upon themselves.

And, yes, he's a Democrat. I'm not saying that the mayor is anti-LGBT but with friends like these...

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'The Cracker Factory'

I love it, sooo apt!

Really, though, that should be Indiana's nickname.

But why single out Indiana? ... The entire American midwest is a "cracker factory" ...

AJ,

I don't venture to comment on other states or areas. I do know 'Hoosiers' very well, though, having lived in Indiana for over 20 years.

of course- it would be the queers fault for causing trouble just by being there- WTF??? Is this 1969 again?

california panda | August 19, 2011 10:47 PM

Maybe we should bring home the point that it's Hets that produce LGBT children. If you don't want us around stop breeding.

Rick Elliott | August 20, 2011 3:23 AM

Let's hope that Purdue and West Lafayette can oblige with a gay bar to give the Lafayette GLBT folks a place to imbibe.