Telling his readers how much he hates “California Nazis“, Glenn Reynolds linked David Bernstein’s piece at Volokh on a troubling case coming from the (once-)Golden State on the abuse of the public accommodation provision of Civil Right laws.
You can read the whole story here. The gist of it is this: Four neo-Nazis went to a restaurant in Long Beach sporting lapel pins with swastikas on them.
The management asked them to take off the lapel pins. They refused. The management asked them to leave. They refused. The management called the police, who arrested them.
Then, remarkably, the Southern California ACLU gets involved, and sues the restaurant for calling the police on the Nazis! This much I’ve confirmed from media accounts. According to the commenter who first alerted me to this story, “the defendants’ insurer eventually settled following unsuccessful pretrial challenges to the complaint, believing they could not prevail under California law!”
The lawsuit was brought under California’s Unruh Act, which provides that “all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.”
So, since that law also includes sexual orientation, it seems the ACLU’s interpretation of the law would then prevent the proprietor of a gay bar from evicting someone sporting an “I Hate Fags” T-shirt. Indeed, if the management asked him to remove it (or cover it up), the group would take the side of the anti-gay guy.
This guy could argue, as the Nazis apparently did, that that was his way of expressing his sexual orientation.
I believe a gay bar owner should have the freedom to remove such a fellow. But, current law apparently deprives him of that freedom.
Simply put, the more laws we have, the less freedom we have. And it is left to government bureaucrats and judges to determine just what the meaning of those laws are.
The Long Beach restaurant owner should be allowed to tell neo-Nazis to cover up their pins. Indeed, he should be allowed to evict such folks from his restaurant if he so chooses. But, relying on state law, the ACLU disagrees. Indeed, by their very logic, they would demand that an anti-gay person be allowed to advertise his animosity in private establishments we seek out to be among “our own kind.”
NB: bumped this post.