Saturday, August 20, 2011

Can Gay Bars Move Anymore? Trouble in Tippecanoe and NYC.

Over in Lafayette, Indiana, the town's only gay bar closed back in April, 2011 due to new ownership of the building that had new plans. The owners of Zoolegers, Dick Nagel and Wayne Applegate, wanted to move it to a new location that is currently vacant. It's only a few blocks away from the old location.

Now maybe it's because Lafayette, IN is so small, or maybe it's because it's near a riverfront, but they have to go before an Indiana board to get their liquor license for the new location rather than a county liquor licensing board. A common part of the process is to get a letter of support from the neighbors in the proposed site. That isn't happening, and the mayor of Lafayette, Tony Roswarski(D), has refused to sign a letter of support due to an anti-LGBT petition he received:

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.

In the comments section of the linked article, some commenters said that Roswarski has betrayed promises made to the LGBT community. I'm not intimately familiar with politics in Tippecanoe, so take it with a grain of salt.

Bill Browning of the LGBT blog The Bilerico Project (and a native Hoosier) picks apart the article a bit more, since it never actually says that Zoolegers is a gay bar. Previously, Browning compiled a post that cited Lafayette, IN as the 5th highest concentration of same-sex couples, in terms of percentages.

A similar, but far more complicated, situation is arising in New York City in Greenwich Village, ironically only a few blocks away from The Stonewall Inn where it's largely accepted that the modern LGBT equality movement started.

So I guess gay bars just can't move anymore, huh? And these are in areas that are generally accepted to be LGBT friendly.

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