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D.C. court OK's
evictions of gay businesses

D.C. court OK's
evictions of gay businesses

The D.C. court of appeals ruled Thursday that the city can use its powers of eminent domain to evict several land owners on a site for which it has signed a lease to build a new stadium for the Washington Nationals major league baseball team. That space includes several gay clubs and other businesses that cater to gays and lesbians. The ruling means the end for the gay clubs at the Navy Yard section of Washington, which were famous for allowing completely nude male dancers. The clubs could move to a new location, but city law requires them to be in the "central business district," an area where rents are higher and there are greater operating restrictions. Efforts to change the rules at a D.C. city council meeting earlier this week faced jurisdictional challenges. The council has no say in zoning regulation--the exclusive province of the D.C. Zoning Commission, which includes Bush administration officials. While Jim Graham, a gay city council member, has introduced legislation to ease the clubs' move, he has faced resistance from colleagues who say they don't want "undesirable" sexually oriented businesses in their backyards. The appeals court said it does not have the authority to second-guess the mayor on issues of eminent domain. It also determined that financial offers to the owners were made in good faith. The gay-oriented businesses in the area are largely owned by Robert Siegel. Business owners there say they expect eviction notices soon. (Sirius OutQ News)

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