News in brief: Gay politicians, gay bar owners, gay Boy Scouts and more

Morrison added he was in talks with Atlanta gay nightlife promoter Chris Coleman about creating an “LGBT voting bloc.”

“The LGBT community really needs to vote as one body to create real power for itself. I think that is a message that we all need to get behind,” he said.

Morrison has also said he and other business owners talked about backing a candidate to run against Wan if one stepped forward. However, Morrison said Wan is expected to meet soon with the Cheshire Bridge Business Association and they want to hear what he has to say.

Wan’s proposed legislation, which failed to be approved by the full City Council on June 3, would have repealed the grandfather clause that allowed adult businesses to stay open along the popular thoroughfare, dubbed by many as Atlanta’s red-light district.  

Several business owners and developers spoke out against Wan’s legislation, arguing the proposed rezoning basically was a property rights issue and they promised to take the city to court.

Some people living in the neighborhood surrounding the thoroughfare, however, complained of blight they believe the sex clubs and porn stores bring to the area, which they think impedes greater development of the area.

Gay-owned bar in East Atlanta cited for serving booze after hours

When the manager of a bar crosses the street to unwittingly ask a table of city of Atlanta employees, including an off-duty cop, to come over to his bar and enjoy all-you-can-drink beer for $10 after the official bar closing time of 3 a.m., he probably has only himself (and maybe his boss) to thank for being raided.
At about 4:30 a.m. June 9, the East Atlanta bar named Asylum, owned by Brian Michael Sawyer, was investigated by the Atlanta Police Department.

The only person charged on June 9 was Asylum’s manager, Couri Antonio Williams, with selling liquor after hours. The APD police report states 83 patrons exited the club after Williams shut down the club.

Williams was arrested and the bar was cited for operating outside allowed hours of operation, selling alcohol without a license, storing alcohol without a license, hours of operations.

Sawyer opened Asylum in July 2012 in the location of the former Echo Club and first held drag shows at the club. But since its opening, Sawyer changed the club’s focus and has run afoul of liquor licenses and other business dealings in the neighborhood.

Southern Baptists approve resolution against accepting gay Boy Scouts

The Southern Baptist Convention voted June 12 to approve a resolution showing its dismay with the recent decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow openly gay youth members.

The BSA decided in May to begin allowing gay youth as of Jan. 1, 2014. Gay adults are still banned from the Boy Scouts.

Opening Scouting to gay youth “has the potential to complicate basic understandings of male friendships, needlessly politicize human sexuality, and heighten sexual tensions within the Boy Scouts,” the resolution states.

Southern Baptists “consistently have expressed their opposition to the normalization of homosexual behavior in American culture through more than a dozen resolutions over the past thirty years,” the resolution continues.

The resolution also calls for a change in the BSA’s “executive and board leadership.”

President Obama delivers annual LGBT Pride Month speech

President Barack Obama delivered his annual address at the White House LGBT Pride reception June 13.

The president recounted progress made since he first took office in 2009, including the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the White House policy of refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in federal court challenges because it believes it unconstitutional, and his public support for marriage equality.

“[F]rom Minnesota to Maryland, from the United States Senate to the NBA, it’s clear we’re reaching a turning point,” Obama said. “We’ve become not just more accepting; we’ve become more loving, as a country, and as a people. Hearts and minds change with time. Laws do, too.

“Change like that isn’t something that starts here in Washington, but it’s something that has the power that Washington has a great deal of difficulty resisting over time,” he said.

Gay Atlantans who were among the invited guests for the reception included Atlanta City Councilmember Alex Wan; Jen Christensen, president of the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association; and her partner, Holly Crenshaw, who is director of communications for Emory University libraries.

U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-GA) also attended.