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The Abbey and bachelorette parties are almost synonymous. Women flock to West Hollywood's hottest gay bar on the weekends, seeking to celebrate their pending nuptials with a bit of drink and a lot of flesh.
But owner David Cooley has had it. While he's happy for his straight customers, he says watching them was "kind of a slap in my face that I couldn't have that same experience." So instead of letting the parade of premarital bliss continue, he's decided to institute a bachelorette party ban.
Well, at least until he and his gay patrons can get married.
It's unsurprising that some people are criticizing Cooley's decision and calling it discriminatory. While he has every right to take a political stance in favor o same-sex marriage, these commentators are correct in stating that he has opened himself (and his business) up to a world of liability.
The Abbey's bachelorette party ban arguably discriminates against potential patrons on the basis of sexual orientation and marital status. Both are illegal under California's Unruh Act if done by a business open to the general public.
If a bride-to-be decides to sue, Cooley would have to prove that The Abbey's bachelorette party policy serves a legitimate business interest. Politics isn't generally considered a good reason to discriminate, especially when same-sex couples do get "married" and have similar parties.
The lesson here is that you should think twice before using your business to make a social or political statement. A policy similar to The Abbey's bachelorette party ban can end up causing you a lot of trouble.
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.