The Athens-Clarke County Board of Commissioners will consider a resolution designed to combat discrimination in the county’s bars at its meeting tonight. The resolution, which is expected to pass, comes after reports of discrimination against racial and sexual minorities in bars serving the University of Georgia population, as a story in the Athens Banner Herald explains:
The action by commissioners Mike Hamby, Kelly Girtz and Andy Herod, who enjoy wide support among their colleagues, comes on the heels of a couple developments late last year on the downtown bar scene. In October, a bartender “cheat sheet” including instructions for making a racially insensitive drink — a “N*****ita” containing tequila and watermelon juice — was discovered in General Beauregard’s, an East Clayton Street bar. Shortly after that, the results of an anonymous online survey conducted through the University of Georgia’s Student Government Association, comprising anecdotal evidence of discriminatory admissions practices at downtown bars, were shared with Commissioner Allison Wright, whose district comprises most of the UGA campus.
The dozens of incidents detailed in the survey, some dating back two years, described some bars’ use of “dress code” and “private event” exclusions to keep ethnic minorities and homosexuals out of their establishments.
The resolution itself “condemns unlawful discrimination in any form and hereby call upon all businesses serving the public within the boundaries of Athens-Clarke County to act in a non-discriminatory fashion with regard to race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, national origin, citizenship, age, disability, or pregnancy.” The resolution expresses the support of the county mayor and commission of any investigations into incidents of alleged discrimination that violate federal, state or local non-discrimination laws.
The resolution also directs the Clarke County attorney and county administrator to make recommendations for possible changes to local ordinances that would support the commission’s non-discriminatory values. The resolution specifically contemplates changes to the county’s alcohol licensing laws so that an alcoholic beverage licensee could have its license suspended or revoked if the licensee was found to be in violation of discrimination laws at the federal, state, or local level.