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Delray Beach joins fight with two women who were denied access to strip club

Posted at 12:45 PM, Nov 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-20 19:55:59-05

DELRAY BEACH, Fla. — The City of Delray Beach is joining a fight that two women started when they were denied entrance to a strip club in Orlando.

In 2018, Anita Yanes and Brittany Smith filed a complaint against O C Food & Beverage, LLC, d/b/a/ Rachel's, as well as West Palm Beach Food and Beverage, LLC, d/b/a Rachel's Adult Entertainment and Steakhouse after they said they were discriminated against when a bouncer said the women needed to be with a man to enter the strip club.

The complaint was filed in the Orange County Circuit Court.

The woman argued that Rachel’s policy was in violation of Orange County’s Human Rights Ordinance, which prohibits discrimination in a place of public accommodation on the basis of sex.

Rachel’s argued the women’s complaint should have been dismissed because the lawsuit should have been filed under the Florida Civil Rights Act, not the Orange County Human Rights Ordinance. Under the FCRA, Rachel’s argued they were within their rights to deny them entry.

In May, the court dismissed the woman’s complaint, finding the FCRA overrules Orange County’s Human Rights Ordinance.

The woman are currently appealing the district court's decision.

Delray Beach is one of 44 cities with a local Human Rights Ordinance. Because of that, the city has decided to join the fight by supporting the women and will file an amicus curiae ("friend of the court") brief. The city of Miami Beach has also filed a brief.

According to documents:

"Mayor and City Commission assert that the Circuit Court's order of dismissal is erroneous and jeopardizes the validity of local human ordinances across the State of Florida, including the City's own Human Rights Ordinance."

Delray Beach officials argued they have been at the forefront of protecting civil rights.

On Tuesday, the city commission gave approval for the city's attorney to file the brief in support of Yanes and Smith for their appeal.