Republican State Lawmaker: Businesses Should Be Allowed ‘To Turn Away People Of Color’

A Republican state lawmaker in South Dakota celebrated the Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of his religious beliefs by arguing that businesses should be allowed refuse service to people based on the color of their skin.

Rep. Michael Clark (R) hailed the Supreme Court’s decision as a “win for freedom of speech and freedom of religion” in a since-deleted Facebook post, according to the Argus Leader newspaper.

“It is his business,” Clark wrote in a comment responding to one Facebook user who took issue with his remark. “He should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants. If he wants to turn away people of color, then [that’s] his choice.”

Clark deleted the post on Tuesday, saying he had “jumped in on it a little bit too fast,” the Leader reported.

He later apologized for the Facebook post in an email to a reporter for the Leader.

“I am apologizing for some of my Facebook comments,” he wrote. “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race.”

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.

Clark told the Leader that he believed that business owners should be able to turn away certain customers if they would otherwise violate their religious beliefs.

“If it’s truly his strongly based belief, he should be able to turn them away,” Clark told the Leader. “People shouldn’t be able to use their minority status to bully a business.”

“The vote of the dollar is very strong,” Clark said.