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Ireland's Oldest Gay Bar Closes Within Weeks Of Crucial Vote On Marriage Referendum

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With the vote for Irish marriage equality just weeks away, Cork residents found themselves shocked when the proprietor of the historic gay bar Loafers announced that it's closing its doors reports Evening Echo. Loafers is considered a major part of the Irish gay rights movement when it was the first gay bar established within the country in 1983, 10 years before the country officially decriminalized homosexual acts. 

Proprietor Ted O'Connell said that economic factors severely affected the bar in the last few years; an Irish bank now wants to have vacant possession of the bar. O’Connell explained the bar’s situation and expressed sadness that the iconic bar is closing within weeks of the marriage referendum vote:

"It's very, very sad but today is the last day. We had hoped to be able to host a referendum celebration party later this month as we fight for a Yes Vote but it will have to be somewhere else.

"We have just had one of our busiest weekends with the Women's Fun Weekend but overall I would say we are down 35 to 40 percent from when I first took over six years ago. It’s the same for gay bars everywhere, in London, New York, everywhere. I suppose in a way it is a positive thing that gay people do not feel ghettoised (sic) to drink in certain premises."

O'Connell didn’t clarify if Loafers would move to a new location except that Loafers on Douglas Street would officially close Monday night. However, O'Connell believes a yes vote on Ireland's marriage referendum is a perfect way to pay tribute to Loafer's legacy.


Man Charged for Sending 'Anthrax' to Iowa Gay Bar: 'This is Your Punishment for Sinning' - VIDEO

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Eric Reece Wiethorn (right), a 49-year-old man from Ames, Iowa was arrested for first-degree harassment for a letter he sent to Blazing Saddle, a gay bar in Des Moines, Iowa containing a death threat and a white powder that Wiethorn had said was the deadly poison "anthrax" but turned out to be Gold Bond Medicated Powder.

WiethornWiethorn's letter said: “This is your punishment for sinning against God, and hopefully you’ll die from the anthrax on this letter.”

Fire, police, and hazmat crews were called to the scene.

Wiethorn, who was arrested on an anonymous tip and admitted to the crime, is being held at the Polk County Jail on $2,000 bond.

Watch a report on the incident, AFTER THE JUMP...

Pullen

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Minnesota Man Receives Six Month Jail Sentence After Shooting Gay Couple With BB Gun

OdegardA Minnesota man, Wayne Steven Odegard, who harassed patrons and shot a gay couple with a CO2 powered BB gun outside of a Minneapolis gay club in September was sentenced on Thursday to spend six months in Hennepin County adult detention center reports LGBTQ Nation. The court also ordered Odegard to undergo chemical dependency and psychological evaluations and attend anger management classes. Due to the factor that his crime was based on the sexual orientation of his victims, the court raised his probation period from three years to five years.

The attack occurred on Sept. 25 when Odegard approached the Saloon bar on Hennepin Avenue and started harassing patrons standing outside, hurling gay expletives and making disparaging remarks toward the crowd and a gay couple holding hands. Shortly after his remarks, Odegard pulled out the BB gun and began shooting into the crowd of patrons. Tyler Erickson, a security guard for Saloon, witnessed the entire altercation and pursued Odegard as he fled the scene.

EricksonSaid Erickson:

"I ran after him and then it ended up he shot a different gay couple in the leg, with that gun and it went through his jeans and drew blood.

"He told me multiple times that I’m going to go to hell and he’s going to bring me with him. He recited a biblical passage — I think it’s a Deuteronomy passage."

Erickson caught Odegard and held him until police arrived, charged and arrested Odegard for making terroristic threats-Odegard plead guilty to the charges in October. No one was seriously injured in the attack; the man shot in the leg only suffered minor injuries.


LDS Church 'Sad' About Salt Lake City Gay Bar's 'Dress Like a Mormon' Party: VIDEO

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A gay club is making headlines in Salt Lake City for a promotion meant to take advantage of the LDS General Conference in town over the weekend, KUTV reports.

The club erected a muscular Moroni statue on its roof, posted photos of its staff as missionary "Elders" and gave them similar nametags. It is also offering liquor specials such a "Sacrament shots", "Baptism by Fireball", and "Garment Droppers" and is offering free entry to those wearing "garments, missionary nametags, or their missionary suit."

The stunt has offended at least one patron who says she'll "think twice" about going back.

An LDS Church released a statement about the promotion:

"In recent years many people in our community, including religious leaders and representatives of the LGBT community have worked hard to create greater understanding and develop more sensitivity and good will toward each other. It is sad to see events like this - deliberately designed to offend and alienate - given any kind of attention."

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Specials

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A Glimpse Inside a Gay Bar in Anti-Gay Uganda

UgandaThere is a bar in Uganda that opens its doors to the country’s oppressed LGBT community for a few scant hours late into the early hours of Sunday evening. Located in Kampala, Uganda’s capital and largest city, the bar usually caters to a heterosexual clientele in the city’s business district. A lengthy profile published in Business Insider reveals that Kampala’s underground queer population is willing to risk criminal charges if it means being able to have some semblance of a nightlife.

"Can you imagine, that in a very sociable country like Uganda, where bars are open Monday-to-Monday, we have only six hours in a week to be ourselves?" one of the patrons pondered to Agence France Presse. "The moment you walk out it's like you don't know each other, you've not been having fun."

Despite the bar being somewhat lowkey, it is understood that the Kampala police are at least somewhat aware of the queer gatherings. The bar was closed down entirely for two months following the passing of Uganda’s law criminalizing homosexuality and the promotion of gay lifestyles. Recently, the bill was nullified on by a Parliamentary technicality, but Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has expressed his openness and interest in considering a new version of the same legislation.


Human Rights Commission Condemns Attack On Gay Bar In New Zealand

Steven Mawhinney gay bar attack New Zealand

The Human Rights Commission has condemned an alleged violent attack on staff and patrons at a gay bar in Wellington, New Zealand on August 22nd, reports TVNZ One News.

Steven Mawhinney, a bar manager at the Ivy Bar, said a group of men came into the venue without realising "what sort of bar it was.”

Mawhinney initially made the men leave but they returned soon after, reportedly throwing cans of alcohol at patrons.

An argument then broke out and when Mr Mawhinney tried to intervene, he was set upon by the group.

Human Rights Commissioner Richard Tankersley said New Zealand's excellent human rights record is worthless if such blatant homophobia is still taking place.

"We value our freedom in New Zealand and that includes being able to live our lives free from fear. Respect for others is a founding principle of human rights - you don't pick and choose who deserves dignity and who doesn't."

According to Stuff.co.nz, police arrested a 23-year-old man on the night of the incident and charged him with two counts of common assault. The man was released on bail and was due to appear in the Wellington District Court last Friday.

Earlier this year, a 30-year-old Minneapolis gay man was beaten unconscious in a brutal attack after leaving a gay bar.


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