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The Abbey says: Not unless all can participate

A popular gay bar turns away bachelorettes. Its founder cites celebrants 'completely unaware that the people around them are legally prohibited from getting married.'

June 01, 2012|By Matt Donnelly, Los Angeles Times
(Mark Boster, Los Angeles…)

The Abbey in West Hollywood is one of America's best-known gay bars. Its chiseled go-go boys, high-concept chandeliers and sexy club beats make it undeniably gay (and fun, for that matter), and the club's openness has earned superlatives like "Best Bar to Bring a Straight Friend To."

But maybe not a straight bachelorette. Last week, the Abbey banned bachelorette celebrations on the premises, turning away fun-seeking straight women looking to enjoy the boozy rite of passage before their trip down the aisle — a move the club says is in support of equal rights.

"We're flooded with requests from straight girls in penis hats who want to ogle our gogos, dance with the gays and celebrate their pending nuptials. They are completely unaware that the people around them are legally prohibited from getting married," Abbey founder David Cooley said in a statement.

Cooley maintains that straight females are still more than welcome, just not in celebration of their I-do's. Reactions to the ban, which for now hasn't been adopted by fellow gay venues in WeHo, have been mixed. It's a creative way to generative publicity around gay marriage and increase activism, but alienating one group in pursuit of equal rights for another doesn't vibe well with everyone. Twitter and hospitality blogs have lighted up with debate, but the bar isn't budging.

"I can't wait for the day to have these parties again, when everyone can have them," Cooley said on the phone from New York.

With regard to any financial hit the Abbey could face, Cooley insists, "[bachelorettes] aren't our bread and butter. But if we take a hit, I'm OK with that. I just wanted to do something to support my community."

For now, that means the bride-to-be is going somewhere else to party.

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