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August 1, 2014

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Man’s crusade against ladies’ night will continue after new law takes effect

Image

Erik Kabik/www.erikkabikphoto.com

Steve Horner, 63, lodged sex discrimination complaints because Las Vegas pool parties, like the one shown here at the Hard Rock, allow women in for free or for less than men. But the state Legislature passed an amendment this past summer specifically allowing for such promotions.

Steve Horner, a former talk show host turned life coach and writer of self-help books, has gained recognition filing successful sex discrimination complaints against bars and other businesses nationwide. His contention: Ladies’ nights, or other promotions that reserve freebies and discounts for women, are discriminatory and, therefore, unconstitutional.

After moving from Minnesota to St. George, Utah, more than a year ago, Horner set his sights on nearby Las Vegas, with its giant party scene fueled in part by the common practice of waiving women’s entry fees to clubs, lounges and pool parties.

His efforts to file complaints with the Nevada Equal Rights Commission began before the Legislature passed an amendment this summer specifically allowing for such promotions. After the law takes effect Oct. 1, Horner said he wants to use the evidence in his complaints as fodder in his one-man mission to reverse the amended state law allowing for ladies’ night promotions and other gender-based discounts.

Some states have outlawed ladies’ night promotions as discriminatory, but the practice has few critics among either liberals or conservatives. Horner and other men who have challenged the policies get little sympathy from the public, which has called them everything from “woman-haters” to “party poopers” and “buffoons” in print and online.

Horner’s efforts have so far gotten the cold shoulder in Nevada, a state with business-friendly laws and a libertarian attitude toward sexual stereotypes. Even the ACLU won’t support Horner’s cause, saying the practice of charging male customers to get into bars and clubs doesn’t rise to the level of a constitutional injustice.

Horner says his first complaint, against the Blue Martini bar and restaurant in Las Vegas, was rejected by the Nevada Equal Rights Commission last year because he never actually visited the bar in person.

That’s why Horner made sure to visit some bigger adversaries on his list: casino pool parties.

The 63-year-old showed up with a tape recorder and microphone to record information that’s common knowledge around town: While he had to pay $15 to $50 to get into pool parties, women got in free or at reduced rates.

Those efforts resulted in six complaints filed last month and this month against Hard Rock, Tropicana, MGM Grand, M Resort, Rio and Mirage — each seeking a minimum of $2,000 in damages plus attorney fees.

Horner said casino employees laughed when he asked whether he could get into the events free or at the reduced “women’s rate.” They seemed unconcerned, he said, when told they were being taped.

Until recently, casinos had reason to worry about such complaints. In 2008, the Nevada Equal Rights Commission determined that a promotion offering women free membership to Las Vegas Athletic Clubs while men paid membership dues was discriminatory. The commission — which has not ruled on the merits of any similar cases before or since — acknowledged that different pricing for men isn’t unusual, but it couldn’t allow the gym’s policy after it was presented as evidence.

Horner said he learned of the law change when a state attorney reviewing the complaints informed him they would soon be moot.

The commission will continue to accept and consider “sex-based pricing” complaints until Oct. 1, Nevada Equal Rights Commission Administrator Shelley Chinchilla said. After that date, the commission will dismiss them outright for lack of jurisdiction, she said. Chinchilla wouldn’t comment on Horner, as complaints are confidential by law unless they go to a hearing.

Horner has since written a letter to Gov. Brian Sandoval and talked with legislators about reversing the amendment, to no avail.

Allen Lichtenstein, general counsel of ACLU of Nevada, said he thinks Horner’s complaints are dead in the water even now, before the amendment takes effect.

Courts are unlikely to view discounted or free rates or services reserved for women as an injustice compared with other forms of discrimination, he said.

Any efforts to remove the state amendment would be met with more than the bemused reactions of casino workers. The powerful Nevada Resort Association lobbied for the business exemption based on the financial benefits pool parties generate for casino giants and thus, the state as a whole.

Horner said he welcomes a public battle.

“How can you say you’re an egalitarian state one moment, and then you’re not when there’s money to be made?” he said.

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  1. He is absolutely right, it IS discrimination. Suppose a golf course charged women more than men to play. They would never get away with it. Same thing.

  2. I personally think Mr. Horner is doing the same thing as Righthaven is doing.

    He has no interest in going to any of the pool parties or other parties but he just wants to use them as someone to sue. He is going to use up court time to try to collect money from party promoters.

    He does not live here and I am going to assume at his age that most of the parties he is currently suing would not be his normal type of party to attend.

    He should take note that if Allen Lichtenstein would not take his cause on he pretty much does not have a leg to stand on here.

  3. Talk about discrimination; notice all the shirtless guys in the photo? Why is it that the girls cannot be shirtless? Why are guys nipples allowed but not womens? Health hazzard? Or just gender-based discrimination?

  4. this guy needs a hobby, on second thought, maybe this is his hobby..in that case he needs a different hobby... although he is right, this is discrimination, however the world is full of similar situations. discounts are given for many different reasons...

    if he had a wife or girlfriend she would get in free or cheaper and i bet he would not be complaining then,,,what an idiot!

    ps, the bait comment is funny!

  5. I wonder if he ever bought a senior coffe from McDonalds or such? A private business should have a right to charge whatever they want. It's their business and the free market will decide who wants to go there, and who doesn't. Simple enough.

  6. a side note...being in this industry, there is even discrimination within the sub group of women...less desirble women do not always get in for free or for less or at all..you will see plenty of them standing in line outside the venues as others are plucked out of line and ushered in..maybe they could sue for being to old, overweight, homley, bad dressers, or whatever the reason may be...its all about marketing.

    in some markets a select group of women are actually paid to go to clubs..to get the party started...i dont mean free drinks or admission (thats a given) they actually get cash or in some cases are on the payroll...

    if little jack horner knew that he would have a stroke!

  7. Destroy a tradition with a law. What a waste of time.

  8. "He is absolutely right, it IS discrimination."

    rjgs -- of course it is, but who cares? Then again, who goes to golf courses to see hot chicks in bikinis?

    "I personally think Mr. Horner is doing the same thing as Righthaven is doing."

    vegaslee --except 1) Righthaven isn't from Utah, 2) Righthaven isn't "a former talk show host turned life coach and writer of self-help books" (which translates to attention whore), and 3) Righthaven isn't from Utah. All Horner has to do is stay home and mind his own business, but his type won't.

    "Why is it that the girls cannot be shirtless? Why are guys nipples allowed but not womens?"

    Kasidie -- good questions, and another example of how this land of the free and home of the brave can't deal with nature's finest. Cities like Toronto got rid of that ridiculous taboo years ago and even had a topless ladies' news show. Somehow the city still thrives.

    "Destroy a tradition with a law. What a waste of time."

    SunJon -- excellent post!

    "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm --- but the harm does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." -- T.S. Eliot

  9. DTJ, we finally agree!!

    What is really news here, is that anybody is stupid enough to give credence to anything a "life coach" says...... especially one from St. George.

  10. I have an idea that is just as idiotic.

    Maybe I can hire Righthaven to file suit against this knucklehead for infringing on my username.

    He says he is a "life Coach" and I am "getalife"....I think this suit is a winner; unlike the other ones filed by Righhaven.

  11. Mr. Horner should seriously consider another cause celebre. There are certainly more meaningful issues than this. Discrimination a normal human condition, perfectly acceptable, and is neither illegal nor immoral. Please go away.