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First 'Public Accommodation' Complaint Filed Under City NDO

First 'Public Accommodation' Complaint Filed Under City NDO

The first 'public accommodation complaint' has been filed under San Antonio's year old gay, lesbian, and transgender Non Discrimination Ordinance, Newsradio 1200 WOAI reports.

  A previous complaint alleged vague discrimination in hiring.  City officials say this is the first complaint that goes to the heart of what the NDO was passed to avoid, discrimination against gay individuals in so called 'public accommodations,' or businesses that are open to the public.

  Two women are filing a complaint against a south side ice house and dance hall, which allegedly evicted them because they kissed on the dance floor.

  "It was only a peck, and happened only once," reads the complaint, obtained by Newsradio 1200 WOAI, "but when the complainants returned to dance again, the music was abruptly shut off."

  The complaint says a security guard told the women that 'this is a family establishment and the owner does not allow 'the lesbians' to kiss."

  Attorney Justin Nichols, who is representing the women, say the ball is now in the hands of the city.

  "It is really going to be up to the city to conduct what is really a 'quasi criminal investigation' to see if there was a violation of the ordinance," Nichols said.

  The complaint says the ice house, 'unlawfully denied Complainants the advantages, facilities, and/or services offered to the general public because of Complainant’s sexual orientation.'

  "This will be an important test of whether this is going to work," Nichols said.

  Despite all the emotional testimony on the NDO, the law does not include any severe punishments for employers who violate it.  Under the NDO, the city is required to try to 'work out an agreement' with the allegedly offending party, and if that doesn't work out, the city has the right to levy a $500 fine, which could be challenged in court as unconstitutional.

 

  "This truly goes to the heart of what the purpose of the NDO law is," Nichols said.  "Going about your daily life, gay and lesbian people are not going to be discriminated against."

 

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