Oklahoma City’s newly-opened gay bars will soon be forced to shut down after the city’s Republican Party voted to ban them.
The vote was part of an unprecedented effort by Oklahoma’s Republican-led legislature to restrict gay rights in the state, which became the first in the US to pass a law that bans gay marriage.
Republican state senator Tom McCallum, who chairs the Republican-dominated House of Representatives, voted against the ban, saying it would allow “unnecessary discrimination against the LGBT community”.
“It was a matter of principle, and the principle was to protect the dignity and well-being of Oklahomans,” he said.
“The right of Okans to be who they are without discrimination is a cornerstone of the American dream.”
Gay bars have been allowed to remain open despite the ban and McCallums office did not respond to a request for comment from the AP.
Gay bars will have to close at midnight, a time many Oklahoms have chosen to celebrate the end of a hot summer.
The bars are already facing legal problems because of their closings, as well as the loss of revenue from sales.
Oklahoma’s bars and restaurants, which have welcomed patrons for years, are struggling financially as well.
They can’t operate without customers, and many bars don’t have enough staff to cover the increased workload.
But the ban has also drawn criticism from business owners and lawmakers, who have threatened to sue if the bars are allowed to reopen.
Gay bar owners, some of whom say they have been shut down for months and have lost hundreds of thousands of dollars, say they don’t need the money.
“I feel like they are trying to take over my business,” said Adam Kast, owner of the gay bar Bitch.
The people who have been in the business for years are the ones who are going to lose their jobs, and for the city of Oklahoma to try to shut them down because of politics, I don’t know what else they are going through.””
That is a problem for the community.
The people who have been in the business for years are the ones who are going to lose their jobs, and for the city of Oklahoma to try to shut them down because of politics, I don’t know what else they are going through.”
Oklahoma Republicans have been trying to block the ban for months, with the Republican governor and the Republican party pushing for repeal.
“We have seen a number of attempts at the Legislature over the past several months to pass this legislation, and every time they have failed, the courts have intervened and struck down it,” said Senate Minority Leader Rob Womack, a Republican.
“We have a state constitution, which says we are a sovereign state, we are not a party to the federal constitution.
So it is not something that we can do legislatively.”