In this piece about straight folks going out to gay bars to talk to gay voters about gay marriage, I mentioned that one night three straight girls walked into the Elysian after hitting up all the gay bars in the neighborhood. The night was still young and the Elysian was packed, as usual. The volunteers' thinking was that there might be some folks in there who either weren't registered to vote or didn't know about Referendum 74. This was a spontaneous decision. Unlike with the gay bars, these volunteers hadn't called in advance to say they were coming. So the bartender, who looked up and saw three people with clipboards soliciting customers along the bar, asked them to do it outside.
But the wording in the article gave some people the impression that the Elysian is not as supportive of marriage equality as other establishments on Capitol Hill, which isn't true. If they had called in advance, general manager Derek Nathan says, the Elysian would have been happy to host a table where customers could register to vote and learn about Referendum 74. (It's pretty standard for a bar to be opposed to unannounced solicitors with clipboards talking to customers.) The Elysian has heard from several customers since the publication of that article asking where the Elysian stands on the issue, which is why the management asked to clear things up.
One of the owners of the Elysian, VP and founder David Buhler, told me today: "I'm going to vote for Obama. I'm voting for Inslee. I'm voting for Referendum 74. But those signs aren't on my window. They're not even on my lawn. That's not how I am... I think you can see when you look at us, we don't make bold statements outside of: Our beer is great." Asked for the company's position on Referendum 74, Buhler said, "I am 100 percent [supportive of marriage equality] and my two partners are 100 percent... Referendum 74 is overdue, and I wanted to give you my opinion."
Buhler pointed out that the Elysian is very active supporter of the community and gives to a lot of arts nonprofits ("We have a long favoritism of art and dance") and social justice organizations (like Fisher House and Capitol Hill Housing). "Hate is not allowed here. We will kick someone out," Buhler said.
He added, "Ed Murray's first campaign party was here." And he went on to say that if Referendum 74 passes, his aunt—a career army nurse—will finally be able to get married if she chooses to.
Let the record show: The Elysian is on the right side of this issue.