The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board apparently misinterpreted D.C. Human Rights Law earlier this week when it ruled that restaurants in general, and the Godfather Supper Club in particular, with its topless and bottomless go-go dancers, must admit children.
The board had cited a portion of the city human rights law barring discrimination based on age. Elsewhere in the law, however, "age" is defined to apply only to persons "18 years of age or older."
According to James P. Baldwin, director of the city's Human Rights Office, there is "nothing at all" in the Human Rights Law that directly concerns discrimination against children. "I don't know how ABC put that interpretation to our law," said Baldwin. The age clause is intended mainly to guard against discrimination of the elderly in employment, he explained, and yound adults seeking housing.
Arthur W. Jackson, one of the two ABC Board members who consigned the ruling, is a lawyer whose full-time job is with the D.C. Human Rights Commission. Jackson was unwilling to say yesterday if the ruling, as it affects minors, might be in error. "You can take anything out of context and make out of it what you will," he noted.
Leonard W. Burka, attorney for a corporation that has been seeking to buy the Godfather, said yesterday that he and his clients have not yet decided whether to appeal. "I don't want to second guess the board and its interpretation of the law," Burka added, "but the result comes out looking rather ridiculous."
A quick survey of local go-go clubs revealed that most profess to exclude minors, although a bartender at the "This Is It" club at 813 14th St. NW - where the marquee outside proclaims "A leg in your hand puts a smile on your face" - declared that he, personally, would serve a Coke to a 17-year-old.