Mediation efforts fail in gay dispute at country club

BY admin

May 27 2004 11:00 PM ET

A dispute over gay members of a private country club in Atlanta who are seeking spousal benefits for their domestic partners is back in the hands of Mayor Shirley Franklin after mediation efforts fell apart.

The dispute between the Druid Hills Golf Club board and the two gay members, Lee Kyser and Randy New, became public on January 12. That was when the Atlanta Human Relations Commission ruled that the club was violating the city's antidiscrimination ordinance. Franklin requested the mediation. The first and only meeting between the two sides took place Wednesday and got nowhere.

Under the city's antidiscrimination ordinance, the mayor could take various actions against the 1,100-member club, including revoking its liquor and business licenses. The club's attorney, Emmet Bondurant, has argued that the ordinance is unenforceable.

The club board argues that it accepts gays but extends spousal privileges only to legally married couples. Benefits include allowing spouses to visit the club without the members being present and to bring guests of their own. Georgia law forbids gay marriage, but Atlanta allows gays to register with
the city as domestic partners. The city also prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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