Attorney General Gurbir Grewal issued a formal apology to New Jersey residents on Tuesday for the state's decades long efforts to quash LGBTQ bars.
These efforts spanned over three decades, from 1933 to 1967, using the state's liquor licensing division to seek out and close down gay bars. Attorney General Grewal called that period of time, "an ugly moment in the history of the New Jersey Attorney General's Office." The 126 enforcement actions that affected these facilities will be revoked in order "to right this historical wrong," said Grewal. Records of these violations are now available on these state's website.
To no one's surprise, prejudices have affected gay and queer spaces across the Unites States for decades, and while some facilities could lean on the mafia and other organized crime families, it wasn't always the safest route.
In 1938, for example, the owner of Newark's Log Cabin Inn was accused of allowing "female impersonators and persons of ill repute" into the establishment. In 1941, another bar was written up due to the presence of "a group of men whose voices, gestures and actions were effeminate," and who acted in a manner "entirely inconsistent with the normal conduct of men."via Huffington Post
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy acknowledged that the state "cannot undo the injustices of the past, today's action by Attorney General Grewal demonstrates our commitment to recognizing the harms that have been suffered and acting to provide support to New Jersey's LGBTQ+ residents."
The state has also begun an evaluation of its liquor licensing division. James Graziano, who oversees the licensing, also acknowledge and condemned "the harm our agency caused to members of the LGBTQ+ community," and offered "sincere apologies to the generations of individuals impacted by it."