A reader wrote in a comment on a different thread, re: anti-gay discrimination laws:
Those of you who think the only ones who need to worry are “small o” Christians who operate businesses related to weddings need to pay attention.
He’s talking about a court ruling last month in a case in which an Oregon bar owner — Chris Penner, who said half his staff was gay or lesbian — lost his business after asking a large transgender group to stop coming around his place. From the story:
The labor bureau’s Civil Rights Division began investigating and found no evidence to support Penner’s contention that the T-Girls disrupted business.
Instead, the bureau found substantial evidence of discrimination and tried to reach a settlement with Penner. When none was reached, Avakian took the case to a hearing.
Penner closed the Twilight Room Annex in April 2014 and laid off five employees after his bank accounts were seized in connection with the $400,000 judgment. The state also imposed $3,000 in civil penalties on Blachana and $2,000 on Penner.
Since Jan. 1, 2008, when the Equality Act took effect, the state labor bureau has received 24 complaints, only a handful of which have advanced to a hearing or remain under investigation. The majority of cases were closed for lack of substantial evidence, withdrawn because of a settlement or taken to state or federal court.
In a 2012 interview with The Oregonian/OregonLive, Penner said he is neither homophobic nor anti-transgender people. He once hosted a weekly queer dance night in the space, and a gay pool team has practiced in the bar. But, he said, other customers complained that the T-Girls left the stall doors open and seats up in the women’s restrooms. Business also had declined since the T-Girls started coming to the bar, he said.
In his appeal, Penner contended that he had not refused to provide service to anyone and that he had a constitutional right to express a desire that the T-Girls stop frequenting his business.
The court rejected the arguments, saying it agreed with Avakian that the voice messages were tantamount to denials of service.
From that 2012 interview, a quote from one of the phone messages the bar owner left:
“People think that A: We’re a tranny bar, or B: We’re a gay bar,” Penner said in the July 2012 message. “We are neither. People are not coming in because they just don’t want to be here on a Friday night now.”
[Complainant Cassandra] Lynn testified at a hearing before an administrative law judge that she could not sleep in the months after Penner’s voicemail. She was irritable at work and considered disbanding the group. Other girls said they stopped going out in public as women. They pulled away from friends, showed up late to work and gained weight.
… “The individuals had found a place at the P Club where they found they could share their lives, their stories. When that is stripped away, that is an indignity that is severe,” [Oregon state Labor Commissioner Brad] Avakian said.
An indignity so severe it prevents people from showing up to work on time? Really? I don’t believe a word of it. I am also skeptical that the state’s investigation found no evidence that the bar’s business went down after this large group of transgenders made it their Friday night gathering place. Most guys would find some other place to drink if their bar, which seems from context like it was something of a sports bar, became known as a transgender hangout, and probably most girls too, because who wants a penis person in the stall next to them in the ladies room?
Nevertheless, the state’s investigation found grounds to support the complainants, and no grounds to support the bar owner — who is now an ex-bar owner, because the lawsuit ruined him. Even if the state’s investigation was fairly done, and the bar owner truly broke the state’s anti-discrimination law in this case, consider that if a large group of men who dress like women decide to colonize your sports bar, and start using the ladies room, you have no grounds on which to ask them to leave. (And before you ask, I think that the owner of a lesbian bar should have the right to ask a large group of fraternity boys who frequented her bar to find somewhere else to drink.)
The reader who pointed me to this story adds:
Again, note. This is not a Christian whose conscience being violated, but a bar owner who complained because of what was being done to his bottom line. He got hit with a discrimination suit, nonetheless.
This is what happens at the state level when the LGBT lobby realizes some of its agenda. The public is obligated, under force of law and threat of punishment to regard any man who throws on a dress as a woman. Furthermore, the State wields an iron fist with a hair trigger, smashing down on any who do not agree, for whatever reason — whether because of Christian conscience or for purely secular, economic reasons.
The man is liable for $400,000 because he left those two ill-advised phone messages. His business is destroyed, and his employees, gay and straight both, are out of work. Good work, LGBT lobby. Good work, State of Oregon.