October 04, 2004

Getting Gay With the Expos

The Washington Times reports that Washington’s gay community is among the numerous groups opposing the new DC baseball stadium. Why? Because the new park would necessitate the shuttering of several gay entertainment establishments, and due to current zoning laws, they could not be relocated to anywhere else in the District.

How about this for a compromise: build the stadium; compensate the owners of the businesses; change the zoning laws to allow the building of a new gayborhood elsewhere in DC; and give the team money to sign Mike Piazza, and/or other players known to be popular in the gay community. Wouldn’t everyone be happy then?

Posted by Stephen Silver at October 4, 2004 02:36 PM

A few stitched-together, semi-related thoughts:

First, what goes unspoken here is that much of DC's gay community enjoys having these places exist, but only at arm's length. I seriously doubt there would be much support for the rezoning necessary to relocate them to Dupont Circle; at least, no more so than there is for granting new strip-club licenses in the District for audiences of any sexual orientation (i.e., no support whatsoever).

Second, of course the owners should be compensated if the District takes their property. The Fifth Amendment requires just compensation. But the question then becomes whether this is taking for a private rather than a public use, and if so, whether that's allowed at all. While not binding on the federal courts as they interpret federal law, the Michigan Supreme Court's recent overruling of its seminal Poletown decision on the basis of state constitutional law nonetheless throws the whole subject of eminent domain into uncharted territory, and will no doubt be treated as highly persuasive even if ultimately rejected.

Finally, even if it is constitutional, public (i.e. taxpayer) support for constructing pro sports is just a huge corporate-welfare scam, and one without end in sight, since there's always some other jurisdiction willing to offer another bribe.

Posted by: Dave J at October 4, 2004 03:50 PM

I'm wondering why everyone always looked to Piazza when that story broke, considering that the writer said that his lover "is not the star of his team", which Piazza clearly was.

Posted by: Bill McCabe at October 4, 2004 04:15 PM
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