It was recently reported that a Los Angeles gay bar called The Abbey had instituted a policy where they no longer allow bachelorette parties. A press release from the owner stated:
Every Friday and Saturday night, we’re flooded with requests from straight girls in penis hats who want to ogle our gogos, dance with the gays and celebrate their pending nuptials. They are completely unaware that the people around them are legally prohibited from getting married. 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. 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.
When I first heard about this story this morning, my reaction was rather tepid. I honestly didn't know how to feel about it. The more I thought about it however, the more I was against this policy. On the one hand, I get that the owner here (and other owner elsewhere that have instituted similar policies) is upset about the lack of marriage equality in this country. On the other hand, I do not believe that meeting discrimination with discrimination is the right way to go. Two wrongs don't make a right after all.
The women who would have their bachelorette parties at these gay bars are not very likely to be homophobic, otherwise being surrounded by gay people would just make no sense. On the contrary, for that very reason, they are very likely to be LGBT-friendly. As such, not allowing them to have their bachelorette parties there just comes off as misdirected anger. Potential allies are being punished for the deeds of truly homophobic people. To me, that is wrong.
Also, as I said above, this is discrimination. There is not much difference between this policy banning straight women from having bachelorette parties for political/moral reasons and someone (say a florist, musician, caterer, etc) saying that they will not provide their services to a same-sex couple for moral/religious reasons. The two scenarios are to close for my personal comfort.
There are far better ways to fight for marriage equality, but resorting to this policy is a step in the wrong direction. It makes us in the gay community look no better than those who would subject us to second-class citizenship.