Gloria Brame, Ph.D.

The Atlanta Eagle raid according to the Atlanta Eagle

Filed By Gloria Brame, Ph.D. | October 26, 2009 11:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Atlanta Eagle, Atlanta police, raid on Atlanta gay bar

Fresh from my mailbox, a link to a factual account of the gory details from attorneys for the Eagle. Read it and scream.

On September 10, 2009, a SWAT-team of Atlanta police officers detained and searched over 60 people without a warrant, probable cause, or even reasonable suspicion of any criminal activity, just because they were patrons at a gay bar called the Atlanta Eagle.

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This will only stop when there is a FEDERAL law protecting the civil rights of patrons at businesses that cater to LGBT people. Whether as an addition to ENDA (which should be expanded to include housing and public accommodations anyway) or as a separate bill, this needs to be made a priority by our movement.

While there are certain forms of discrimination that all oppressed groups face (I would say minority groups except that women are the majority) such as job discrimination there are also often unique situations faced by specific groups that require special remedies. For instance, the denial of the right to vote to African Americans, especially in the South required the Voting Rights Act.

There is a long history of police harassment and intimidation at businesses (and even in public streets) where LGBT people congregate. State and local governments also discriminate in the granting and revoking of licenses and enactment and enforcement of regulations of LGBT businesses. There are whole states with no gay bars. We need a very specific federal law to fight this form of discrimination that would give it's victims redress in the federal courts. Our political and legal groups need to put their heads together and come up with a law to address this problem.

Atlanta and Dallas are just recent examples of a long history of raiding LGBT bars and gatherings. Full civil rights protections - including public accommodations & housing and not just employment rights - is the only answer.