Sudden Inspection at Gay Bar Mars Victory Celebration for Some By AL BAKER and MICK MEENAN
An unannounced inspection that several agencies carried out at a gay bar in Manhattan on Friday night occurred at nearly the same time that patrons were celebrating the passage of legislation in Albany legalizing same-sex marriage.
Police officials said on Saturday that the inspection was part of a routine operation planned long ago. But Scott M. Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, said that he was troubled by descriptions of what took place at the Eagle bar, on West 28th Street off 11th Avenue, and that the actions amounted to a raid.
“I am going to ask the police commissioner to conduct a formal investigation concerning the circumstances around this raid,” he added.
The inspection occurred late at night, Mr. Stringer said, and while it was “true that there are these multiagency inspections, I think this one was ill-conceived and ill-timed given the circumstances surrounding the marriage equality celebration, on Pride week.”
According to those present, about 100 people were mingling at the Eagle, when representatives from the New York Police Department and three other city agencies, as well as from the State Liquor Authority, showed up, at nearly the same time as a vote by the State Senate to legalize same-sex marriage and as the thrill of victory was swirling through the place.
“I was on the roof deck, smoking a cigar and having drinks with friends, and all of a sudden, the police showed up and started shining flashlights in everyone’s face and offending everyone,” said Thomas J. Shevlin, a financial markets researcher and the treasurer of the Stonewall Democratic Club.
“Basically, it is offensive,” Mr. Shevlin, 40, said. “It is real serious harassment that they come out on pride weekend.”
Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said the Eagle was one of four establishments in the 10th Precinct inspected on Friday under a program known as MARCH, or multiagency response to community hot spots.
He said every precinct in the city, except for Central Park, carried out such operations at what amounted to “a couple thousand clubs” each year.
The establishments are selected because they are the subjects of “chronic complaints” from community members that are mostly reported through the city’s 311 and 911 communications systems over concerns like excessive noise or fighting, Mr. Browne said. The inspections, he added, were planned weeks in advance.
He said the inspection at the Eagle led to six violations being issued: two from the police regarding unlicensed security; one from the Department of Environmental Protection regarding unnecessary noise; one from the Buildings Department for having no public assembly permit; and two from the liquor authority for “extension of premise,” and “failure to conform to application.”
Robert Berk, 50, the owner of the Eagle, said on Saturday that the operation’s timing was “bad.” The officers and other agents began entering, unannounced, about 10:30 p.m., he said, and eventually numbered about 20. They were “aggressive, but polite” as they examined the premises, he said, adding that they went over paperwork and inspected items like the ice makers and the licenses of security guards.
Mr. Berk, who is gay, and who described his bar as a “Levis and leather” establishment, added he expected to receive a list of violations in the mail.
“I definitely lost money last night because they made patrons wait outside in a line down the block,” Mr. Berk said. “I don’t know how much I have to pay, but it’s enough to matter.”
Christopher J. Borras, 46, was among those waiting to get in, finally gaining entry about 11:45 p.m., just as Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo was preparing to sign the marriage measure into law.
“I find interesting the timing,” said Mr. Borras, who had been at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village earlier that night. “I would just like to know from the police: `Why did they do that?’ To me, it is a blatant sign of intimidation and harassment, I mean, 42 years after the Stonewall riots and we still have to live in fear of the police disturbing our quiet enjoyment of life? I just don’t understand. We are very peaceful.”
Daniel P. Dromm, a city councilman from Queens who is gay, expressed concern on Saturday over reports over the years of officers entering bars on the Friday night before Gay Pride weekend.
“There needs to be some sensitivity to the importance of gay marriage being legalized in New York State, which means this vote for marriage is going to have national reverberations,” he said. “Not a good time for cops to be going into a gay bar for no urgent reason.”
On Saturday, accounts of what happened in Chelsea were pouring in to Mr. Stringer, Mr. Dromm and others and were being discussed both online and at gatherings around the city to celebrate the new law.
Some reacted angrily. Allen Roskoff, 61, a veteran gay-rights activist who was not at the Eagle, said, “In typical New York City Police Department fashion, the N.Y.P.D. demonstrated its disrespect for the gay community by raiding the Eagle mere moments after the passage of most important piece of gay rights legislation in history.”
But some accounts of the inspection diverged significantly, in places, from what the police described. For instance, Mr. Berk said the inspection lasted about two hours, while Mr. Browne said it was completed in about 45 minutes.
Along with flashlights being shined in people’s faces, lights were turned off and patrons were forced to empty their pockets “without probable cause,” Mr. Shevlin said.
Mr. Browne insisted that the inspection “had nothing to do with the vote” or with Gay Pride weekend. Those on the task force, he said, “are not seers; they don’t have a crystal ball that tells them when Albany is going to take up a piece of legislation.”
“We are treating everyone the same here,” he added. “It has nothing to do with the sexual preference of the patrons; it has to do with complaints. It is blind to who the club is and it was planned weeks before.” He also denied accusations of aggressive police action.
“The notion that anyone was searched or the lights were turned off is utter fabrication,” Mr. Browne said. The police, he said, lowered the music and turned the lights up a bit to see more clearly. “The only contact the police had with anyone there was the lieutenant shaking hands with the proprietor,” he said. The bar was not padlocked, and there were no arrests.
Mr. Berk said while he wished the inspection had been done during the day to avoid disrupting his business, the officers “were just doing their job.”
He planned to visit the 10th Precinct station house on Saturday, he said, to speak with commanders, with whom he said he had a good relationship.
A law enforcement official said the commander of the 10th Precinct who is responsible for determining a list of locations that were subject to chronic complaints, and were therefore eligible for the inspections, was Deputy Inspector Elisa Cokkinos.
ALBANY, N.Y. – New York is poised to become the sixth, and largest, state to legalize same-sex marriage after the state Senate voted late Friday in favor of a gay marriage bill. Gov. Andrew Cuomo has promised to sign it, and gay weddings could begin 30 days later.
The measure, which the Democratic-controlled Assembly in an earlier version, was backed by four Republicans and 29 Democrats in the GOP-controlled Senate.
"We are leaders and we join other proud states that recognize our families and the battle will now go on in other sGay rights advocates are hoping the vote will galvanize the movement around the United States and help it regain momentum after an almost identical bill was defeated here in 2009 and similar measures failed in 2010 in New Jersey and this year in Maryland and Rhode Island. Though New York is a relative latecomer in allowing gay marriage, it is considered an important prize for advocates, given the state's size and New York City's international stature and its role as the birthplace of the gay rights movement, which is considered to have started with the Stonewall riots in Greenwich Village in 1969.
The New York bill cleared the Republican-controlled state Senate on a 33-29 vote. The Democrat-led Assembly, which passed a different version last week, is expected to pass the new version with stronger religious exemptions.
The effects of the law could be felt well beyond New York: Unlike Massachusetts, which pioneered gay marriage in 2004, New York has no residency requirement for obtaining a marriage license, meaning the state could become a magnet for gay couples across the country who want to have a wedding in Central Park, the Hamptons, the romantic Hudson Valley or that honeymoon hot spot of yore, Niagara Falls.
New York, the nation's third most populous state, will join Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and the Washington capital district in allowing same-sex couples to wed. For five months in 2008, gay marriage was legal in California, the biggest state in population, and 18,000 same-sex couples rushed to tie the knot there before voters overturned the state Supreme Court ruling that allowed the practice. The constitutionality of California's ban is now before a federal appeals court.
The passage of New York's legislation was made possible by two Republican senators who had been undecided.
Sen. Stephen Saland pledged the deciding vote. He voted against a similar bill in 2009, helping kill the measure and dealing a blow to the national gay rights movement.
"While I understand that my vote will disappoint many, I also know my vote is a vote of conscience," Saland said in a statement to The Associated Press before the vote. "I am doing the right thing in voting to support marriage equality."
Gay couples in gallery wept during Saland's speech.
While court challenges in New York are all but certain, the state -- unlike California -- makes it difficult for the voters to repeal laws at the ballot box. Changing the law would require a constitutional convention, a long, drawn-out process.
The sticking point over the past few days: Republican demands for stronger legal protections for religious groups that fear they will be hit with discrimination lawsuits if they refuse to allow their facilities to be used for gay weddings.
The climactic vote came after more than a week of stop-and-start negotiations, rumors, closed-door meetings and frustration on the part of advocates. Online discussions took on a nasty turn with insults and vulgarities peppering the screens of opponents and supporters alike and security was beefed up in the capitol to give senators easier passage to and from their conference room. The night before, President Barack Obama encouraged lawmakers to support gay rights during a fundraiser with New York City's gay community. The vote also is sure to charge up annual gay pride events this weekend, culminating with parades Sunday in New York City, San Francisco and other cities.
Despite New York City's liberal Democratic politics and large and vocal gay community, previous efforts to legalize same-sex marriage failed over the past several years, in part because the rest of the state is more conservative than the city.
The bill's success this time reflected the powerful support of Cuomo and perhaps a change in public attitudes. Opinion polls for the first time are showing majority support for same-sex marriage, and Congress recently repealed the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that barred gays from serving openly in the military.
In the week leading up to the vote in New York, some Republicans who opposed the bill in 2009 came forward to say they were supporting it for reasons of conscience and a duty to ensure civil rights. Pressure to vote for gay marriage also came from celebrities, athletes and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the Republican-turned-independent who has long used his own fortune to help bankroll Republican campaigns and who personally lobbied some undecided lawmakers. Lady Gaga has been urging her 11 million Twitter followers to call New York senators in support of the bill. While the support of the Assembly was never in doubt, it took days of furious deal-making to secure two Republican votes needed for passage in the closely divided Senate.
Representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, Orthodox rabbis and other conservative religious leaders fought the measure, and their Republican allies pressed hard for stronger legal protections for religious organizations.
Each side of the debate was funded by more than $1 million from national and state advocates who waged media blitzes and promised campaign cash for lawmakers who sided with them.
But Republican senators said it was Cuomo's passionate appeals in the governor's mansion on Monday night and in closed-door, individual meetings that were perhaps most persuasive.
The bill makes New York only the third state, after Vermont and New Hampshire, to legalize marriage through a legislative act and without being forced to do so by a court.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/06/24/gay-marriage-headed-to-vote-on-ny-senate-floor/#ixzz1QFwYUNtKtates," said Sen. Thomas Duane, a Democrat.
I know, I know.On twitter, there’s a lot of talk surrounding my sexuality. This rumor about my sexuality has been going on for two years. So what?The fact is, I am still a lesbian and I love women.Yes, something has come to light, but this blog will still focus on women’s issues, sex, love and relationship advice.
The blog started because my first ex-girlfriend dumped me.I was so pissed that I had to talk about her.I felt hurt and I had to speak my mind about the relationship and how she dumped me.
From that, the blog became a soap box for the Presidential Election, since I am a registered Republican.
Then the blog became a soap box for my relationships, the GLBT community, drama and other things.The blog has lost its focus, but now the focus has been found.
I am still a Professional Lesbian and will always be.
With that said, Lesbian Life blog will be back on track with help from the GLBT and Straight community. It will be more exciting, fun, interesting and will deal more with women’s issues then anything else.
Writers who want to submit articles can do so by emailing me at: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Lesbian Life Article”.
Yes, the Lesbian Life Blog, will be stronger then ever.
In an official statement today from Aliya Leigh (New York, NY - 7:35pm - June 21, 2011): "I have always been, and will continue to be, the biggest supporter of gay and lesbian rights. I am fiercely dedicated to my large fan base and trust that a few pictures will not change their views of me. I am NOT straight."
As I look at my long muscular nude body in mirror, I look at myself as a thing beauty. I lightly touch my skin with my long gentle fingers.
I gently touch my smooth coca skin; which is flawless in every way. My eyes are almond shaped with a golden-brown, my lips are full of life and love and my nose is perfect as if God gave it to me.
My breasts are hard and small, just perfect for the perfect person. My abs is tight and hard, as well as, my legs and the rest of my body. I am made beautiful in every way.
Women are beautiful creatures from God. We are strong, have strength, have might, communicators, leaders, and have the greatest sense of emotion.
Women can have waterfalls of sweet juices of love and life with only a touch. By the right touch, a woman will love you for life. Touch her and she will moan, feel her energy and she will melt in your hands.
Women are emotional creatures. We feed on emotion. Emotion is our passion and our fire. Emotion is our desire. Emotion is equal to women.
One night, I was with my partner and we just kissed each other. The kiss was insane and blew my mind. It gave me a rush inside my body and I was floating on air. My eyes rolled to the back of my head; I felt high and alive. It was the most perfect kiss with a touch to match.
In sex, women are not always looking for penetration, but a touch and kiss can go a long way.
Talking is always good. A whisper in the ear, and a lick here and there will make her go insane.
Remember sex is sex. Making love is making love. Most men and some women forget that sex and making love is not the same, but two different actions with two different results.
In a loving relationship, communication is always the key, even if you two don’t agree on a topic or a matter. A couple can’t be afraid to discuss topics. If you want someone to always agree with you, you can marry your hand or a robot. The choice is yours. But, know this; your partner should always be your best friend; who’s an extension of you.
This is the differences between men and women. Women feed on emotion to drive them as men need to lead and protect. It’s in our DNA.
Black people need to go back into slavery. Yes, I do believe Blacks have forgotten what it feels like to be an outcast in society. Blacks are becoming the new members of the KKK. Yes, I said it, Skinheads look out. Your brothers from a different color.
To me, it seems that the Blacks in this country don’t think gay rights are the same as civil rights. Civil rights are about rights of individuals’ freedom from unwarranted infringement by governments and private organizations and ensure one’s ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.
So what is the difference between Civil Rights and Gay Rights? Nothing. It’s the same deal. Like HELLO.
It bothers me that Blacks had to go through hell and back, to have the position they have in this country. We even have a Black President. But now, they don’t care about the rights about anyone else, but still talking about the Civil Right struggle.
Years ago, in this country, Blacks could not get married to each other; which is why Blacks have this statement, “Jumping the broom”. When a couple “Jumped the broom” that means, the couple is married. It was also true; Black and Whites could not get married together. So what?
Now, I am not talking about marriage, but I am talking about rights and feeling human. Two days ago, a straight guy asked me “What is the big deal about gay marriage? Straight marriages have problems too.” Yes, this is true, but when Gays are able to get married, Gays will be considered as HUMANS not as people who are mentally insane or sexual diseased people who needs sex rehab.
I am Black and happy to be Black, but Blacks need to stop with the hate of the Gay Rights issue. Being Gay is not a White Man disease and some Black people are Gay. I am sorry to tell you, Black people. Black people can be Gay.
So, Civil Rights are the same as Gay Rights. It’s the same! So deal with it!
“Tracy Morgan's costars and other celebrities are condemning the homophobic remarks that he made during a recent comedy show in Nashville.”
What do you think?
I don’t care. Yes, I am a lesbian! But, I do believe in the Freedom of Speech.
“Freedom of speechis the freedom to speak freely withoutcensorship. The synonymous termfreedom of expressionis sometimes used to indicate not only freedom of verbal speech but any act of seeking, receiving and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used. In practice, the right to freedom of speech is not absolute in any country and the right is commonly subject to limitations, such as on ‘hate speech’.”
I say this, please don’t physically hurt. I don’t care what you say to me or about me.I had been teased and bullied enough from grade school to Junior High School, so I can careless about someone talking or making fun of me.
With the Tracy Morgan thing, it just shows how closed minded he is and how he needs to understand the world.
Freedom of speech is important in this country. If we censor every person’s speech, our freedom of speech will be thrown out the window. In this country, we can’t afford this.We need freedom to say whatever we need to say, regardless of what people think.
The power thinking humans have is; remove ourselves from the element that is negative and dark.So, if you don’t like what is being said, remove yourself. Don’t let an idiot take your power, you need to take charge of your power and your life.
I was talking to some religious people about the bible and homosexuality. I was excepting an answer like the normal stuff, but I got something extra; which I needed to share with you.Now, I don’t care if you’re gay, straight or bi, but these questions are for any married couple.
Why did you get married? What makes a real marriage?What are the key components in marriage?
It’s amazing how people have their own view of marriage.From an open marriage to a marriage business agreement; you can see why people’s view of marriage is so warped.
Now, I am totally for gay marriage. The main reason is legal arrangements.With a legal marriage, you have rights over property, legal family member and cheaper taxes. With marriage you become one flesh so the two partners share everything together, even medical information.So, those are the benefits of a legal marriage.
Why do people get married and is there sex involved in this arrangement?
You guys know, I love sex.It’s like a release for me, like my high.But, I will like to find the one who I can spend my life and body with.I am only looking for one person.
My stand on marriage is two people who love each other to the point of death and Hades.Yeah, I know that is not all real, but I can still dream.In a marriage, is sex important? Let see.
By speaking to people, I have learned sex is not the most important thing in a marriage, but intimacy is very important. A glance at your partner’s body as they get out of the shower, looking into their eyes and thinking about holding them forever,touching, kissing, feeling, talking or even doing a chore can be intimate and a sexual intense gesture. From personal experience, just looking at my girlfriendwalking out of the shower just made me want to take her and make her scream until she fell asleep.Holding hands, texting and sending a picture is so sexual, this can make a marriage fresh and new every day.My parents have been married since the age of the dinosaurs, but they have a Friday date night.They date each other once a week to refresh the marriage.
But, let’s talk about sex.What is sex?Sex is when two people make love with each other. But, again this is open to interpretation why?
Some people believe sex in a marriage is only for making children. In the bible God told Adam and Eve to have children, so you men and women should only get married to have children. WTH?
So, in other words, you are telling me, I can’t have sex with my husband or wife, only if we are ready to have a family! What?You got to be kidding? So, if that’s the case, why do old people get marriage?They can’t have babies.
Getting back to my story, the religious people told me that, “I can’t be with a woman and I need to be single for the rest of my life.I can have friends to kill the void of companionship”.
But, that doesn’t make sense.I have some male friends.They treat their partners differently then their friends.With friends, you can share ideas and thoughts with; with a partner you can share your whole life because you become one flesh.This is the main reason why people do get married.
In marriage, sex is important, but with a twist.For a woman, you can have an orgasm with a kiss or a touch. To me, this is a sexual experience. Sharing your body with the one you love, is the most exotic experience ever and can you get wet whenever you see them.They can be smelly and sick and you will still what to make them scream.
One example, I was with a girl, Miss June of 2009, she was a rebound girl because I just broke up with my first love. I was so heart broken.It was like; God ripped out my heart and ate it in front of me with a smile. I hated God for a while because I that bastard made my girlfriend cheat on me and a guy to prove a point that homosexuality is a sin.So, I started having sex with the world and didn’t care.Anyway, I was so sick with the flu and she came over to care for me.She thought I was so sexy with yellow mucus runny down my nose, a trail of used tissues on my bedroom floor, and coughing up flam, as I was wearing pee strained shorts. She wanted to have sex with me, even though I had a temperature. See, sexy!
I found God again and God wanted us to have a happy life.He created us to love, not be alone and not to have sex.I don’t believe sex is just about making babies, but to share a special relationship your soul mate - the person who you will take a bullet for.
Sex is not about doing it like a porn video, but it has meaning and understanding behind it. Why do people get married? They want to share the rest of their lives with that one person, who they want to be with.