Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Gym Owner Sells To Avoid Boycott

I have added the report of the original issue for you to read, the hyperlink to the article is listed above - Philebrity.com


GAY DEMS CELEBRATE SALE OF 12TH STREET GYM
Rally for Change Today at 5PM
It only took one week after Philadelphia’s Liberty City Lesbian and Gay Democratic Club announced their intended boycott of the 12th Street Gym for the owner of that gym to sell his shares. The owner, Robert Guzzardi, has contributed tens of thousands of dollars to right-wing, anti-gay politicians, including Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Santorum has come under fire from the LGBT community for his infamous comments comparing homosexuality to adultery, polygamy, incest, and bestiality. The gym, which is located in Philadelphia’s “gayborhood,” has a predominantly gay clientele.

Boy, that was fast!
Previously: City’s Gayest Gym Supports Lil’ Ricky?
After the jump, the release in full.

Liberty City, in partnership with Philadelphians Against Santorum and Philly for Change, announced an immediate boycott of the Gym and plans for a protest to be held on Monday, April 10 at 5PM. The response from the community was overwhelming. “People were outraged to discover their money was going to support the anti-gay agenda of Rick Santorum,” said Kelly Groves, Co-Chair of Liberty City Democrats. “Its like we were unknowingly purchasing the nails for own coffins.”
After a week of intense pressure from local groups, the media, and members of the 12th Street Gym, Guzzardi’s business partner and part-owner of the Gym, Rick Piper, agreed to meet with protest organizers. In a last-minute meeting over the weekend. Piper announced that he would buy out Guzzardi’s interest in the gym, making Piper sole owner and CEO of the business. “We had to take a step back and listen to our members,” said Piper. “Ultimately, Guzzardi’s politics were not inline with the interests of the community we serve. I think we’ve done the right thing.”
Protest organizers were pleased to hear the news. “This is a huge victory for Philadelphia’s gay community and for grassroots activism,” Groves said. “I think we’re sending a very powerful message today: the LGBT community of Pennsylvania will not tolerate the anti-gay agenda of Rick Santorum and we will not support those who do.”
The organizers will go on with their intended Rally TODAY at 5PM in front of 12th Street Gym. 12th Street Gym owner Rick Piper is scheduled to speak. Media are encouraged to attend.
Information on Guzzardi’s political donations can be found at www.libertycity.org

Our very own FREDDIE wrote about this in February on his blog Mental Hopscotch. This is what getting up and demonstrating ones voice can do for a community!! And it made International news tonight!!

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by The Associated Press

April 11, 2006 - 12:01 am ET

(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) The owner of a gym popular in the city's gay community avoided a boycott by agreeing Friday to sell his portion of the business.

A group of gay and Democratic activists had planned to boycott Philadelphia's 12th Street Gym to protest owner Bob Guzzardi's financial support of Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and other conservative candidates and causes.

Guzzardi kept the situation from boiling over when he agreed to sell his share of the gym to co-owner Rick Piper.

Piper said the deal, effective next month, came in response to the pending protest.

Guzzardi declined to comment Monday. Piper declined to disclose details of their transaction.

Santorum, who opposes same-sex marriage, angered gay-rights groups in 2003 when he said states have the right to ban homosexual acts, just as they do incest, adultery, polygamy and "man on dog" bestiality.

Shortly after 5 p.m. Monday, about a dozen people gathered in front of the gym, one carrying a sign that declared the area a "Santorum-Free Zone."

The proposed boycott had been organized by the Liberty City Democratic Club, an organization of gay and lesbian activists; Philly for Change, a grassroots group that grew from Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign; and Philadelphians Against Santorum, a group started by blogger Ray Murphy.

"We're going to keep an eye out" to make sure Guzzardi divests from the business, Murphy said.

©365Gay.com 2006

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