by TJ Acena, PQ Monthly
Last week the Oregon Court of Appeals upheld the discrimination ruling against Chris Penner the owner of P Club (which is now called the Twilight Room Annex).
Long time readers will remember when we covered this case back in 2012. Bar regular Cassandra Lynn received two voicemail’s from Penner asking her to stop coming to P Club with her transgender and cross-dressing friends because he didn’t want it known as a “tranny” or “gay” bar. You can listen to audio of those voicemail’s in our previous blog.
BOLI investigated the claims of discrimination and agreed with Lynn. P Club was fined $400,000 in damages. Penner appealed to the Oregon Court of Appeals. His argument was that he never actually discriminated against the group. Asking them to leave was simply a financial decision because he claimed the group scared away customers. The Court did not agree and ruled that the fine must be paid. Jeana Frazzini, Basic Rights Oregon’s Co-Director released this statement applauding the ruling:
“Freedom of speech like freedom of religion are important fundamental rights that we are proud to defend, however, they cannot be used to deny dignity and respect to Oregonians. Oregonians decided long ago that discrimination has no place in our state. Denying goods and services to people because of who they are and whom they love is hurtful and wrong,”