: views from the Hill

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Times change, thanks be.

On my way to looking for something else, I found the following ...

Authorities pulled the liquor license of the Black Cat (710 Montgomery -- the Bohemian Bar in Kerouac's On the Road) in 1949. Why? Because it attracted (nay, in truth catered to) gay men.

Sol Stoumen, the straight owner, took the case all the way to state Supreme Court, which ruled in 1951 that a business couldn't be shut down just because homosexuals gathered there.

But, backing up a bit, earlier the Superior Court and the Court of Appeals had sided against Stoumen. In fact Superior Court Judge Robert L. McWilliams wrote in his decision:

It would be a sorry commentary on the law as well as on the morals of the community to find that persons holding liquor licenses could permit their premises to be used month after month as meeting places for persons of known homosexual tendencies. ... An occasional fortuitous meeting of such persons at restaurants for the innocent purpose mentioned is one thing. But for a proprietor of a restaurant knowlingly to permit his premises to be regularly used "as a meeting place" by persons of the type mentioned with all of the potentialities for evil and immorality drawing out of such meetings is, in my opinion, conduct of an entirely different nature.


No comments: