The Abbey, West Hollywood’s most famous gay bar, has a new policy in place and some are calling it discriminatory. Owner David Cooley has instituted a bachelorette party ban — at least until marriage is legal for everyone.
When asked about his motivation, he explained, “It’s great to see my straight women coming in celebrating with their girlfriends… [but] it was hurtful to me being gay, as well as my clientele, that we cannot have that same type of celebration.”
Eh, this last part is not necessarily true, which is just one reason why The Abbey’s bachelorette party ban may not pass muster in a court of law. Though same-sex marriages aren’t legally recognized in California, they are still recognized by friends, family and some religious institutions. They are marriages of the heart, and many participants don’t skip the pre-wedding parties.
You see, California prohibits businesses from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or marital status. Only those policies that serve a legitimate business purpose can withstand this rule.
The bachelorette party ban arguably violates the law, as it denies service to people based on their soon-to-be marital status. It also targets straight people looking to celebrate.
Cooley’s reasoning for the policy is that it makes his clientele uncomfortable, particularly because they can’t have the same type of celebration. But, as mentioned above, same-sex couples can have bachelorette parties if they choose to do so.
This fact makes it much more difficult to prove that the bachelorette party ban serves a legitimate business purpose. The Abbey may therefore need to reevaluate its policy sometime soon.
- L.A. Gay Bar Bans Bachelorette Parties Until Gay Marriage Is Legal (TIME)
- Discrimination in Public Accommodations (FindLaw)
- NJ Bridal Store Refuses to Sell Lesbian a Dress (FindLaw’s Free Enterprise)