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October 23, 2014

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Vegas gay bars chime in on the Abbey’s bachelorette ban

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Mikey McNulty

The Weekly throws a bachelorette party… even though no one is getting married. For the story, click here.

The LA Weekly reported last week that West Hollywood gay bar the Abbey would be banning bachelorette parties in an effort to promote marriage equality.

A press release cited in the article states, “Every Friday and Saturday night, we're flooded with requests from straight girls in penis hats who want to ogle our go-gos, dance with the gays and celebrate their pending nuptials. They are completely unaware that the people around them are legally prohibited from getting married,” said David Cooley, founder of the Abbey. “Over the past 22 years, The Abbey has been a place that accepts everyone, gay, straight, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and everything in between. We love our straight girlfriends and they are welcome here, just not for bachelorette parties.

“It has long been a policy at the Abbey to deny admission to groups in costume, including Bachelorette regalia,” Cooley continues. “Bachelorette parties had previously been allowed inside if they removed their costumes. The Abbey’s ‘bachelorette ban’ comes on the heels of a ban on gay marriage in North Carolina and a number of other states across the South. The Abbey encourages other gay-owned and operated establishments to institute their own bans as a sign of solidarity until marriage is legal everywhere for everyone.”

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A flag from the venue when it took over the Vdara pool deck for its pop-up pool club, Abbey Beach.

As Las Vegas is a destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties alike (with to-be brides in tiaras and gentlemen exhibiting Hangover-esque behavior out every night of the week), Weekly wondered if local venues would heed the Abbey’s call to action. We asked a couple of gay bar owners and operators their thoughts of instituting their own bachelorette bans.

Russ Taylor, manager of the Fruit Loop venue Free Zone, stated that the bar and lounge loves bachelorette parties and would never establish such a ban.

“They’re just so much fun for us, and normally all the guys, gay men, love bachelorette parties. They have a good time with them,” said Taylor. The manager also said he respects the bar’s decision, but that he didn’t understand the idea of fighting discrimination with discrimination.

The owner of both Strip-side Krave and new Downtown hot spot Drink & Drag, Kelly Murphy, voiced a similar opinion. “Personally, I just don’t think that you restrict another group’s rights to try to get your own rights somehow approved,” said Murphy. He also offered an alternative to the Abbey’s ban. “I would have just taken the revenue generated from bridal parties and donated it to the HRC so they had more funds to fight for gay rights.”

A recent Huffington Post blog echoed Murphy’s suggestion, and also cited an article from The Stranger that indicated bachelorette party bans were instated in Chicago back in 2009.

So, is it a powerful political statement on a hot-button issue or just reverse discrimination?

That depends on who you ask. Just don’t show up at the Abbey with penis headbands and lollipops anytime soon, ladies.

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