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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Lesbian says she's happy with city's fine over discrimination complaint
The Ledger-Inquirer ^ | 12/28/04 | Daniel Yee (AP)

Lesbian says she's happy with city's fine over discrimination complaint

DANIEL YEE

Associated Press

ATLANTA - The woman who filed a complaint against an Atlanta country club that refused to extend spousal benefits to her domestic partner said the city's fine against the Druid Hills Golf Club sends out a strong anti-discrimination message.

Mayor Shirley Franklin's decision to fine the club up to $90,000 for violating the city's human rights ordinance came as a "pleasant surprise," said Lee Kyser, one of the club's two gay members who filed complaints with the city in January challenging the club's policy.

It is the first time the city has enforced the four-year-old ordinance, which allows the mayor to pull liquor and business licenses or impose fines against businesses found to be discriminatory.

Franklin ordered the city solicitor to fine the club $500 a day for up to six months - a total of $90,000 - unless the club changes its policy. The solicitor must decide with a municipal court judge when the fines will begin. Phone calls to the city requesting comment on Tuesday were not immediately returned.

Golf club officials promised their members they would challenge the fine, saying the ordinance was unenforceable and that Franklin did not have the authority to impose such a fine. But no action has been taken yet, club spokeswoman Priscilla Daves said Tuesday.

Before the mayor fined the club last week, she contacted Kyser and her partner and told them she also will appoint a panel of experts to review the ordinance with the intent of possibly modifying it to make sure it could withstand legal tests in the future.

"She is saying, 'You can sue us, but we are going to have this thing'," Kyser said. "I think that Mayor Franklin has now got the city of Atlanta in a leading position on civil rights."

Kyser, who remains a member of the club, said the fine puts additional pressure on the pocketbooks of the club's 1,100 members, because they will be the ones who will have to pay for the fine or for legal costs if the club proceeds with a challenge.

"What (the fine) has done is say you can't discriminate for free and it's going to at least cost you. I think that's very important," Kyser said.

Despite the legal tussle between the city and the club, Kyser said her family loves the exclusive country club - that carries a $40,000 initiation fee and dues of $400 a month - and will remain.

"That's never been in question - the club is kind to me," she said. "They're stuck with us - they might as well come to grips with us - we're not going away and we're not going to rest until this is done."
 

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Custer said:
Mayor Shirley Franklin's decision to fine the club up to $90,000 for violating the city's human rights ordinance...
At first I was wondering what the deal was, whether Georgia of all states had adopted a law that had the audacity to demand that homosexuals be treated with simple human decency. Then saw that it was a city ordinance.

I kind of have mixed feelings about this, actually. I'm glad that it was a city ordinance and not a civil lawsuit involved, and at the same time I kind of think that people do kinda have the right - within reason - to be stupid bigoted jerks so long as they're not doing it with taxpayers' money and that maybe that city ordinance ought to be repealed. Yet at the same time, I can see where the citizens of Atlanta would have the right to demand that stupid bigotted business practices not take place in their city.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Without state action, you infringe on one person's 1st amendment right to protect someone else's.

Here, the state action is a liquor license. What's next? The fact that you get water service or police protection at your home?
 

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I wonder if I could join other organizations? Like the Black Panthers or the Woman's rotary club?

How long before we're told who is allowed in our homes? Mind you I think the club is being bigoted, but at the same time why does any political entity have the right to make judgements or force a private party to do something against their policies?
 

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I wasn't allowed to join the Black Cultural Society in high school. I wasn't doing it to be a jerk or anything. One of my best HS buddies was black. There was a few racial problems going on at the time, so a few of my friends tried to join and were denied because we were not black. My friend dropped out of the club after we were rejected.
 

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SangRun Hunter said:
...How long before we're told who is allowed in our homes?...
I guess nobody told you about the Third Amendment having been repealed. Hey, it's wartime, we all have to make sacrifices. The troops should be there around dusk, have dinner ready.
 

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Dzerzhinsky said:
I guess nobody told you about the Third Amendment having been repealed. Hey, it's wartime, we all have to make sacrifices. The troops should be there around dusk, have dinner ready.
Well, I'm just saying if I have a birthday party for my kids do I have to invite the nasty little nose pickers down the street? I paid for the event and my house is a private place, right? Is this golf club any different?

It's ludicrous, but most people will have a knee jerk reaction to this. I know my 2 co-workers don't see the seperation of private clubs and government run stuff.

Their belief is this kind of stuff should be forced upon private individuals while they never think of the ramifications it has and keeping the tentacles of the Fed off of our private stuff.
 

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SangRun, the Feds rely on the commerce clause of the constitution to extend Federal power into demanding nondiscrimination among many private businesses. But the Feds don't provide nondiscrimination protection to homosexuals, so there's no Federal issue here as yet. The Feds would probably go after the golf course for denying admission on the basis of race, creed, color, or national origin, though, and probably for gender discrimination, too.

What we have here is a municipality putting strings on the licenses it issues. And Atlanta appears to put as a string on the licenses it issues that the licensee not discriminate against homosexuals. While I am of mixed feelings about this whole deal, your question was about where the governmental authority came from, and that's where it came from - from the municipalities power to establish conditions for licensure.

Playing devil's advocate here, licenses are nearly always by definition a privilege - they are not required to be issued. (This is why "shall issue" CCW laws are popular among firearms enthusiasts - they make issuance of a concealed weapons permit no longer a privilege that can be arbitrarily withheld) Anyway, a good case can be made that no governmental agency should extend privileges to those who don't meet some sort of standard for human decency; that while the local VFW would readily be issued a liquor license, the local chapter of the Man-Boy Love Association would probably be denied the privilege.

Anyway, so long as you don't need a license to hold a birthday party, the municipality where you live is going to have a hard time finding the authority to require you to invite the snot-nosed brats down the street.


Random Aside: Freedom of Association is the foundation of most Anarchist political theories. That you don't need laws to have a civil society, folks that don't abide by the mores of civil society are simply excluded from it. Sort of like the old "outlaw" expulsion of folks from a fiefdom during the Middle Ages.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
They have tried to push their reach into private associations based upon receipt of water and other government services. They never give up and they do infringe on your rights.

Certain rights seem to be ok and others mean nothing to them.

We foget the basics here. The constitution restricts government/state action, not private. In order to regulate your private conduct, they have to find some state action. In this case, it appears they are using the liquor license.

I have to have a permit to build a small warming fire on my deck. It is issued by the Township government granted such authority by the State of Ohio.

Does that mean I can not discriminate as to whom I invite to my home when I plan to have this outdoor fire and few cold ones?

I have a driver's license and a CCW license and Lord knows how many other government things I have to have a permit license for. Am I now subject to various state action requirements in my private life?
 

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I understand about the license being held like a carrot much like DUI laws going to .08 or the states federal share of tax money will be held back.

I still don't like it, but that is for whiners, right?

My argument is that no private entity should have to follow discrimination laws or rules unless they receive federal funding, but then again I'm old fashion or would that be old facist? :D

I feel it should be the same for municipalities, but that is Georgia and we have no idea how other places handle this stuff.

One a side note it pushes morality or tolerance on groups and IMHO will make people balk against such rules as this stuff spreads. It's thought police kind of stuff or Orwellian to some degree. It says you and your exclusive club that has a charter, so you must be up to no good and we must tell you how you are going to run things.

It's not just going to affect this case where it's not a very noble thing that is going on, but lets say the local KKK wants to become members of the NAACP and the NAACP says no way you filthy *******! Then is the city of Atlanta going to jerk there chain? Probably not...........
 

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If I remember correctly,and I may not,this was about the spouse of married couples being able to partake of all the clubs activities and services after paying the $40000 initiation fees and $400 monthly dues but not allowing the "significant other" of GLBT members to do the same after paying the same money.If I am correct then I believe the city's decision was right on the mark..
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Are not private associations of people able to make their own rules without government interference?

If not, then there is no difference between the state and a private individual.
 

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Custer said:
Are not private associations of people able to make their own rules without government interference?

If not, then there is no difference between the state and a private individual.
Exactly why this stuff makes me so mad. It goes right up there with imminent domain. How far do we go with this?
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Most people do not understand the basics of the Constitution so politicians are happy to pander to that ignorance. Add some activist, trendy judges and you have an actual loss of Constitututional rights rather than a gain.
 

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Custer said:
Are not private associations of people able to make their own rules without government interference?...
Yep, as I pointed out in a previous post in this thread, they are certainly free to discriminate against gays in Atlanta so long as they don't rely upon the city of Atlanta to confer privileges to them through business and liquor licensure. Start using my money as a taxpayer to administer business and liquor licensure, though, and I'm likely to go into a snit if you give licenses to businesses that engage in despicable discriminatory practices against my city's citizens.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
If they are in business, then I would agree with you.

If the government requires certain permits to do certain things, then we are all going to be deemed the government and held to that standard.

There is only one Constitutional provision that restricts private conduct that I can think of and that is the 13th amendment.
 

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Custer said:
If they are in business, then I would agree with you...
Huh? That surprises me, Custer. They clearly are in business.

I was expecting you to adopt the far-more-defensible strategy of questioning the appropriateness of considering a business license to be a privilege and questioning whether it's really appropriate for municipalities to control what businesses can be conducted within its limits, and how those businesses are to operate, though business licenses. I read you as a laissez faire capitalism kinda guy, who would bridle at the very thought of municipal government establishing control over businesses within the city.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
There are private clubs and associations and then there are establishments open to the public.

The members of Augusta National are in a private club. The members of Gold's Gym are not.

I read this case as a private club.
 

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Oh, OK, I can see that distinction - sort of. Problem is that even private clubs in Atlanta are required to have a business license if they're engaged in business - and this one clearly is.

Now, for me, with my propensity for wanting all laws enforced, the issue isn't so much whether or not this Atlanta ordinance should be enforced, but whether it should have been passed in the first place.

So I find myself asking if I'd be OK with my town (If I lived in one. Thankfully I don't.) issuing business licenses to private clubs that excluded any or all of the following: Blacks, Jews, women, second-generation Slovenians, and/or Christians. Not to mention categories generally not protected - Republicans, homosexuals, the rich. And those marginally protected - the disabled.

And I really don't come up with a firm answer. I do think that our right to be left alone and our right to do stupid things are very fundamental.
 

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DADDY WARBUCKS
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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Freedom of association is the freedom to discriminate. You have to avoid entanglement with the state or you will be deemed the state.

As the damn state continues to entangle me with more regulation and calling things privileges, I am at increasing risk of losing my freedom to associate because the government is forcing that entanglement on me. I did not seek most of the entanglement.
 
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