An Oregon appeals court on Wednesday
upheld an agency's ruling against a bar owner who refused to serve a
group of transgender and gay customers.
The Oregon Bureau of Labor and
Industries in 2013 ruled against Christopher Penner, saying that he
had violated the state's law prohibiting businesses from
discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
In two voice mails to the Rose City
T-Girls, a Portland social club, Penner told the group's members not
to return to his bar, The P Club (later renamed The Twilight Room
Annex). Penner said that their presence was damaging his business.
Penner paid $400,000 in damages and
closed The P Club last year, according to Reuters.
After Wednesday's ruling, Labor
Commissioner Brad Avakian praised the decision in a written
“Our agency is committed to
protecting the civil rights of all Oregonians so that people are not
denied employment, housing or access to public places based on who
they are or who they love,” Avakian said.
Penner's lawyer said that his client
never intended to discriminate.