Precinct 333

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Did I Miss The Repeal Of The First Amendment, Part II

The mayor of Atlanta is threatening a private country club with a $90,000 fine for refusing to grant the partners of gay members "family" status for membership purposes. The conflict betwee Mayor Shirley Franklin and the Druid Hills Golf Club is shapingup to be a serious legal battle.
"Atlanta has a very proud history of promoting and celebrating diversity," [Mayor Franklin] wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to club President Kent Smith. "Given the club's failure to address the issues internally, I am compelled to act."

Franklin said she is ordering the city solicitor to fine the club for up to 180 days — a maximum fine of $90,000 — unless it changes its benefits policy. Franklin did not specify in her letter when the fines would begin. She was out of town and could not be reached for comment Monday.

In a statement e-mailed to the golf club's 1,100 members, the Druid Hills board of directors said it will fight the fine.

"We continue to believe there is a legitimate and legally recognized distinction between 'spouse' and 'domestic partner' and our policies are non-discriminatory," the board wrote. "Equally important is our belief that the city ordinances that attempt to dictate the club's membership policies are invalid. Further, in our opinion the mayor has no jurisdiction to impose this fine."

The mayor's action seems to have been prompted by the urging of two politically connected gay members. Mayor Franklin, first elected in 2001 with strong support from the gay community, vowed to enforce and strengthen the city ordinance.

What I find interesting, though, is that a city which claims to be proud of its history of promoting and celebrating diversity is attempting to squelch the free association rights of a group which chooses to act diveresely. Once again we see that the liberal definition of "diversity" is everyone acting identically under threat of government sanctions.


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