Steve Horner did not attend the monthly meeting of the Colorado Civil Rights Commission on Monday. I knew this without even talking to Horner, because the meeting actually concluded — and if he'd been there, the seven appointed commissioners would still be stuck in their conference room, listening to Horner drone on about how the inequities of ladies' nights are directly tied to most of the world's ills. Or, as he puts it: "Feminism is Marxism, which creates terrorism through its inherent double standards, creating anger, confusion, resentment, feelings of betrayal and, ultimately, revenge and violence."
But Horner wasn't there Monday; he was showing his visiting son around the city that the anti-ladies'-night crusader has called home for the past year, stopping off in LoDo, enjoying "a smoke and a beer" at the Celtic Tavern. And since Horner wasn't there, the commission made it through the weightier agenda items involving truly horrendous instances of discrimination to item "VI a) Discussion and action by the Commission regarding ladies night." And it did take action: "Ladies' night promotions may not involve price differentials or other differential treatment based on a protected class, whatever the intent," reads the resolution it adopted. "The Commission strongly discourages ladies' night promotions and recommends instead that establishments consider neutral promotions involving perhaps free or reduced admissions to a limited number of customers who appear before a certain time."
Just what this state needs: bar specials designed by bureaucrats.
"We felt that we had bigger fish to fry," admits Dr. Delio Tamayo, who chairs the commission. "But bars and restaurants need to look at creative ways to make a more even playing field."
The commission was first introduced to Horner after he filed a complaint with the Division of Civil Rights last fall, claiming that a local nightclub's ladies' night specials violated the state public-accommodations statute. Ultimately, the commission decided that while that might be so — that ladies' night deals unfairly benefit one gender, even though bars only use the deals to lure in more members of the opposite sex — it had no statutory authority to award Horner damages. But with this resolution, the commission has handed Horner a nice, big club he can use in his continued campaign to beat bars into submission.
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He can use it to take another swing at the Division of Civil Rights, where he recently filed another complaint regarding a promotion at an adult club, advertised by Clear Channel, that gave participants in a strip contest free drinks — but only allowed women to participate. So, if that contest were open to everyone before a certain time — the commission's suggestion for an equitable resolution — would he join in? "I wouldn't be a part of that," Horner says. "It would be like watching Norm on Cheers. Wouldn't be much of an attraction."
I'll drink to that.
And he can swing that club again in civil lawsuits, now that the commission has determined that ladies' night promotions are "an illegal practice." He currently has several complaints pending in Denver County Court against clubs that advertise ladies' nights, as well as against Westword — for 32 instances of advertising that mention ladies' night.
Forget free drinks: How about free speech?