Author Topic: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)  (Read 39 times)

Lloyd Perna

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42 U.S.C. §2000a (a)All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard arguments on 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis in which this law is at the center of the arguments.

I happened to run into another story today and I'm wondering if those of you with more education in Constitutional Law could explain to me why this situation does or does not violate this statute.

A Christian Organization, The Family Foundation made a reservation for a large group at a Richmond Virginia restaurant called Metzger Bar and Butchery last Wednesday night.
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The Family Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non partisan, faith-based organization. We believe there is no square inch in all the universe over which God has not claimed “Mine”, and that includes the arenas of civil government and public policy where we spend much of our time. We advocate for policies based on Biblical principles that enable families to flourish at the state and local level. We are uniquely positioned at the center of a national, state, and local coalition, which includes being associated with Focus on the Family.
About 90 minutes before the time of the reservation the restaurant called the organizer of the event and cancelled the reservation.  When the organizer asked why, they were told that an employee looked up their organization and refused to serve them.

Thursday Night, the restaurant posted this on their Instagram.

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Metzger Bar and Butchery has always prided itself on being an inclusive environment for people to dine in. In eight years of service, we have very rarely refused service to anyone who wished to dine with us. Recently we refused service to a group that had booked an event with us after the owners of Metzger found out it was a group of donors to a political organization that seeks to deprive women and LGBTQ+ persons of their basic human rights in Virginia.

We have always refused service to anyone for making our staff uncomfortable or unsafe, and this was the driving force behind our decision. Many of our staff are women and/or members of the LGBTQ+ community. All of our staff are people with rights who deserve dignity and a safe work environment. We respect our staff’s established rights as humans and strive to create a work environment where they can do their jobs with dignity, comfort and safety.

Is this restaurant in violation of the Public Accommodations law?  If not, Why?




NobleHunter

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #1 on: Today at 02:00:33 PM »
The act specifies "without discrimination on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin." You'll note that politics is not in that list.

msquared

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #2 on: Today at 02:13:47 PM »
Of course neither is sexual orientation.

Lloyd Perna

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #3 on: Today at 02:42:14 PM »
It seems to me they are discriminating based on religion.

If I owned a restaraunt and refused to serve the NAACP, I think I would be in some trouble.

Tom

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #4 on: Today at 03:38:17 PM »
If I create a religion that says that Republicans are evil and cannot be served at restaurants, am I being discriminated against on religious grounds if my (non-Republican-serving) restaurant is sued?

Lloyd Perna

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #5 on: Today at 03:43:44 PM »
If I create a religion that says that Republicans are evil and cannot be served at restaurants, am I being discriminated against on religious grounds if my (non-Republican-serving) restaurant is sued?

Yes.

Tom

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #6 on: Today at 03:57:29 PM »
Which is actually a pretty good reason to allow discrimination against religion, I suppose, and to start taxing churches. But YMMV.

Lloyd Perna

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #7 on: Today at 04:01:53 PM »
I don't understand why you have come to that conclusion.

Fenring

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #8 on: Today at 04:03:43 PM »
If I create a religion that says that Republicans are evil and cannot be served at restaurants, am I being discriminated against on religious grounds if my (non-Republican-serving) restaurant is sued?

That's sort of America's fault, right? If religion becomes so wrapped up in politics (and vice versa) that you can't intelligibly disentangle them in some cases, how do you enforce a non-discrimination policy based on religion when it's their politics you hate? One could get into what a "religion" is, which would further mire the issue. Does it have to be a registered charitable organization to qualify under the law? Does it simply have to involve a shared belief system across many individuals? Does it require a "home office" that runs it as a top-down organization? For instance, could the Communist Party of the USSR have been construed as a religion, technically speaking, since it involved an operational hierarchy, a core belief system, mandatory ideological obedience, and all the trappings of an otherwise fundamentalist religion, even though it happened to lack a spooky metaphysics? If so, then political organizations of various kinds also count as religions even though they don't identify as such? Surely the purpose of such a statute is to protect a person's right to practice an individual belief system, rather than to protect members of organizations that happen to be tax sheltered. If the law was consistent with the present reality I almost think "political persuasion" could be included as a subset of religion. Of course then you get into bona fide cases of being afraid, such as a neo-Nazi biker gang wanting to dine in a kosher deli. But absent some kind of reality check how can one realistically avoid a politics-based apartheid if things go too far? What would really be the difference then between religious and non-religious discrimination?

I dunno. Maybe the law needs to just be changed to allow for religious discrimination, if that's the de facto way things will be enforced in any case.

ETA - heh, I just saw your last post appear after I finished typing. I guess the same thought occurred to you, albeit perhaps for different reasons (mine being sardonic).

TheDrake

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #9 on: Today at 04:16:13 PM »
Seems to me like they were looking out for the customers safety and comfort. What might happen if people handling their food knew they were bigots and homophobes, I wonder? I'm just saying there might have been a few cups of salt in their meal.

Lloyd Perna

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Re: Title II of the Civil Rights Act (Public Accommodations)
« Reply #10 on: Today at 04:29:57 PM »
Religion and Politics have been intertwined since the beginning of civilization.

Seems to me like they were looking out for the customers safety and comfort. What might happen if people handling their food knew they were bigots and homophobes, I wonder? I'm just saying there might have been a few cups of salt in their meal.

I think its pretty bigoted of you to infer that all Christians are bigots and homophobes.