Explosion Rocks Gay Bar In Atlanta

February 22, 1997

A pipe bomb covered withnails exploded in a crowded Atlanta gay bar Friday night, injuring several people. A second pipe bomb was found outside the establishment and was later detonated by police.

The attack comes at a time of increasing anti-gay rhetoric. At least one anti-gay bill has been introduced each day in state legislatures thus far in 1997, according to a report recently released by NGLTF.

"As the extremist Right steps up its verbal and legislative assault, violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people is on the rise," said Kerry Lobel executive director of NGLTF. "What begins as rhetoric, can often have tragic consequences."

Atlanta police said this bombing, the fourth to strike the city in seven months, has similarities to a January double-bombing at an Atlanta abortion clinic and the deadly July attack at the Olympic Games. All are thus far unsolved."We encourage FBI and local law enforcement officials to do everything in their power to solveNGLTF has written to President Clinton, Attorney General Reno and FBI Director Freeh, to alert them of the incident and call for their action.

"My purpose in writing you, Mr. President, is to echo concerns we have voiced to you earlier about the rising rhetoric of hate in this country and its devastating results," wrote executive director Kerry Lobel in a letter to the President dated February 22. We ask you to speak out loudly against this crime, as you did in double-bombing of the women's health clinic, deadly attacks at the Olympic Games, and burnings of black and multi-racial churches. The time has come for people of good will from all across America to speak out against hate in our country."

In another letter to Attorney General Janet Reno, NGLTF's Lobel asked the Department of Justice to closely monitor the situation, and, if necessary, lend assistance to local law enforcement authorities "to ensure the collection of all needed information to determine whether or not this was a hate crime."

Georgia civil rights and hate crimes laws do not include sexual orientation. The state also has a same-gender sodomy law. According to executive director Lobel, "Today we stand with Georgians who are working every day to fight against discrimination and for their civil rights. Like them, we will not rest until this bomber is brought to justice."

NGLTF urges anyone with information to call FBI and Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms hotline at 1-888-ATF-BOMB.


The mission of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force is to build the political power of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community from the ground up. We do this by training activists, organizing broad-based campaigns to defeat anti-LGBT referenda and advance pro-LGBT legislation, and by building the organizational capacity of our movement. Our Policy Institute, the movement’s premier think tank, provides research and policy analysis to support the struggle for complete equality and to counter right-wing lies. As part of a broader social justice movement, we work to create a nation that respects the diversity of human expression and identity and creates opportunity for all. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., we also have offices in New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, Minneapolis and Cambridge.