A traditional gay community dance event in Washington, DC, shut down with the advent of the city’s smoking ban. Two years later, following extensive and expensive efforts to accommodate smokers within the oppressive confines of the law, the event is slated to return.
Known as “Lizard Lounge,” the refurbished event will include “plush seating in a comfortable all-climate alcohol-licensed and smoking-permitted covered outdoor lounge.”
Event promoter Mark Lee was an energetic opponent of ban imposition. He says the new arrangements, two years in the making, will allow “unique accommodation” to restore “the hospitality which has long been our signature."
After eight years of operation, Lizard Lounge shut down in 2006, in the face of unsustainable losses contingent with the smoking ban. The contemptuous City Council imposed the ban despite pleas from affected parties and from Mayor Anthony Williams.
Mark Lee now observes: “The negative results of the mandatory smoking ban have been serious, sustained, and, ultimately, sad … we do not desire to again debate the issue of this forced prohibition, recognizing that special interest groups won that battle by concocting a dizzying cocktail of misinformation, disputed junk science of the exaggerated health perils of so-called ‘second-hand’ smoke, and a breathtaking disregard for both personal freedom of choice and business independence.”
We must say Mister Lee seems a learned observer. Perhaps he has anticipated that antitobacco will take note of the new arrangements for Lizard Lounge and will wreck them if it can. Our regular readers know that no claim is too bizarre for today’s prohibitionists.
Antitobacco may say that outdoor heating undoubtedly will destroy the Earth’s environment. It may say that a covered outdoor lounge comes too close to “indoor” smoking and defies the “spirit” of the law by treating smokers with respect, thus “encouraging” smoking. It may on the other hand say that an “outdoor” lounge could potentially be visible to underage passers-by thus encouraging youth smoking. Save the children!
Antitobacco may say anything, and just as happened in 2006 in DC, it may prevail with furiously hysterical and pompously sanctimonious City Councillors. We wish Mark Lee and his patrons the best while reminding them to remain keen observers and ready fighters. Forty years ago a man who danced in a bar with another man could be sent to jail and the bar could be shut down. The pea-brains of the hysterical and the sanctimonious have not and will never grow. They merely switch their hate targets from one era to the next.