Friday, April 17, 2009

Homosexuality 'Third Rail' for Retail

When the new owner of a previously "gay bar" announces to Peoria that the clientele has changed, his business is virtually shut down.

-- From "Peoria gays react to unwelcome sign" By Erika Slife, Chicago Tribune Reporter 4/17/09

In bright yellow capital letters, the sign on the karaoke bar in downtown Peoria was clear: "WE ARE NOT A GAY BAR!!"

The local gay community got the message. And it apparently was just the rallying cry it needed.
In a flurry of forwarded Facebook, MySpace and text messages, a coalition quickly mobilized and dozens of gay rights supporters lined up last weekend outside The Elbo Room to express their outrage. The sign, they said, might as well have read, "Gays are not welcome here."

For decades, the bar on Main Street had been called the Quench Room and was known as a gay bar, longtime residents said. In the 1990s, ownership changed hands and it became a karaoke bar, said Peoria Councilwoman Barbara Van Auken, whose district includes the bar.

Van Auken warned [the owner] . . . the city has already notified him the sign violated state law.

"You can't give notice to the effect that certain protected groups are not welcome," she said.

To read the entire article, CLICK HERE.