A South Dakota lawmaker argued this week that businesses have the right to refuse service to people based on the color of their skin. He’s basing this argument on the Supreme Court ruling for the baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple. And he’s absolutely wrong.
South Dakota state Rep. Michael Clark (R) argued in a Facebook post on Monday that businesses have the right to “turn away people of color” based on religious beliefs.
Following the Supreme Court ruling on Monday in favor of a baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, Clark posted that it was a “win for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.”
“He should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants,” Clark wrote. “If he wants to turn away people of color, then that(‘s) his choice.”
Apparently, this Republican has never read the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which specifically outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.
The Argus Leader, a USA Today publication, reported on Tuesday that following massive backlash, Clark removed the outrageous Facebook posts. But the paper published the following screen grab of the conversation.
Because he received such negative backlash over his post, Clark apologized on Tuesday. But it is clear that he truly believes that business owners should be able to refuse customers service based on their religious beliefs, even if that means discriminating based on race.
The policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, Libby Skarin, said, “You can’t turn away someone from your business because of their race, it was illegal yesterday, and it’s illegal today.”
When Clark apologized for his post he said that he had “jumped in on it a little bit too fast.”
But later, in an interview with the Argus Leader, Clark insisted that strongly held religious beliefs give businesses the right to turn away anyone.
“If it’s truly his strongly based belief, he should be able to turn them away,” Clark said. “People shouldn’t be able to use their minority status to bully a business.”
Clark is sorry that he got into so much trouble for posting his disgusting views. But clearly he’s not sorry for those views.