Behind the Bar on Gay Marriage
Fred Plodge, the spiritual leader of the public bar political movement, explains how their policy on gay marriage could have a marked impact on pub profits.
I am currently co-ordinating a team of public bar specialists who are formulating the Public Bar Party’s official policy portfolio prior to its launch next year.
Following intense consultation with public bar patrons and pub licensee lobby groups right across the country the party has opted to come out in favour of gay marriage.
Gay drinkers represent a significant proportion of pub clientele and indeed many of the more progressive pubs have gay bars. So it was only logical that licensees should not only argue in favour of gay marriage but also assert that pubs are the ideal venues for the ceremonies.
Churches in the main seem determined to remain exclusively hetero as far as weddings go and registry offices are conspicuously lacking in appropriate atmosphere. The argument for pubs as the prime gay marriage venues seems compelling.
Pubs have a great tradition as places which bring people together, they carry an impressive selection of wedding presents for guests needing to make last minute purchases, there’s always a crowd around in the bar in case the congregation needs reinforcements and celebratory refreshments are instantly available after the ceremony.
In fact the Party is currently considering a special submission from the licensees’ national association that anyone licensed to sell liquor should automatically be licensed to officiate at gay marriage ceremonies.
In the past there have been a range of negative views expressed about the impact pubs have on the institution of marriage and have even been compared with mistresses given the tendency of some husbands to spend more time there than at home with their wives.
The Public Bar Party sees gay marriage as the ideal opportunity to dispel that image and reposition pubs as places where couples start out on marriage together and stay together until closing time.
A pub offers the complete gay marriage package, the ceremony, the drinks, the reception and then the honeymoon suite. And of course gaiety has been an inherent characteristic of pubs ever since they first opened.