South Dakota Lawmaker: Businesses Should Have Right to Not Serve People of Color

South Dakota, Michael Clark, people of color

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.”

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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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