A South Dakota lawmaker says businesses should be allowed to turn away people based on race, according to The Hill.
Republican State Rep. Michael Clark made the comment on a Facebook post he wrote Monday following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in favor of a Colorado baker who declined to make a wedding cake for a gay couple, citing his religious beliefs.
Clark wrote that the court’s decision was a “win for freedom of speech and freedom of religion.” People called out Clark on the Facebook status in which he responded to one commenter, in the now-deleted post, saying that it was the baker’s business.
“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,” he said.
Clark told a reporter at the Argus Leader newspaper, which first reported about the post, that he was sorry for his comment.
“I am apologizing for some of my Facebook comments,” he wrote. “I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race.”
He went on to tell the newspaper that business owners should not have their religious beliefs violated, and it’s up to customers on where they want to spend their money.
“If it’s truly his strongly based belief, he should be able to turn them away,” Clark told the newspaper. “People shouldn’t be able to use their minority status to bully a business… . The vote of the dollar is very strong.”
On Tuesday, Clark issued another apology on his Facebook page.
“The comments I made were very racist. I would like to apologize for those comments,” he wrote. “Businesses should not be able to discriminate solely based on race, sex, national origin, age, or handicap.”
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Teddy is a multimedia journalist who serves as the culture and political writer for EBONY. His work has appeared in NBC's Owned and Operated stations, as well as DNAInfo, which covered local neighborhood news in New York City. He received his Masters in Journalism from the Craig Newmark School of Journalism at CUNY in 2017.