CommunityPam's House Blend

Wingnut in Atlanta plans to gut the human rights law that the mayor planned to enforce

Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin is in for a fight, as I mentioned yesterday in the Blend. A local country club denied spousal benefits to gay partners that are legally registered with the city as domestic partners, and she was going to enforce the city’s human rights ordinance ($500 a day fine for each day the club does not comply with the ordinance). And, of course, the conservative whack jobs are going after it full-bore. (

Rep. Earl Ehrhart (R-Powder Springs) says his bill would forbid both the state and municipalities from imposing any penalty on private organizations “engaged in lawful expressive association.”

The wording is taken from the 2000 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that declared the Boy Scouts have a constitutional right to block gays from becoming scoutmasters. The court said that private organizations have the constitutional right to decide who they want or do not want as members.

Ehrhart said he will submit his bill on Jan. 10, the first day of the 2005 session. As chair of the Rules Committee he will be in a position to determine which bills make it to the House floor for a vote.

Atlanta’s ordinance was passed in 2000 and bars discrimination against gays in “public accommodations”. Because it is licensed by the city to sell liquor it falls under the ordinance.

The Druid Hills dispute began last January when two of its members, Lee Kyser and Randy L. New were turned down when they sought family memberships for their same-sex partners.

Kyser, a clinical psychologist, and New a lawyer, took the club to the Human Rights Commission alleging bias because of their sexuality.

The club, which charges a $40,000 initiation fee and about $475 in monthly dues, told Kyser and New that their partners were welcome to join but not as a families. Family rates are considerably lower than separate memberships.

This should be an interesting test. I am not sure the ordinance will stand up, but standing up to the challenge is necessary.


Interested in contacting Rep Ehrhart?

Representative Earl Ehrhart (R) (web) (email)

Capital Address:

Legislative Office Building

Room 404

Atlanta GA 30334

(404) 656-0109 (phone)

(404) 651-8086 (fax)

District Address:

5500 Wright Road

Powder Springs GA 301271073

(770) 943-8568 (phone)

(770) 437-2601 (fax)

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding