GOP Rebranding Watch: S. Dakota Lawmaker Says It Should Be Legal to Deny Service to “Blacks”
South Dakota Republican State Senator Phil Jensen is today’s poster boy for the GOP’s ongoing “rebranding” effort, as he tells the Rapid City Journal that businesses run by the KKK should legally be able to deny service to African Americans.
Jensen goes so far as to say that businesses should have the right to deny service based on a customer’s race or religion - whether that’s right or wrong, he says, can be fairly addressed by the free market, not the government.
“If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them,” he said.
Jensen, of course, is an evangelical Christian like any good Republican; and he also wants to make it legal to discriminate against gays, under the disguise of “religious freedom,” this year’s right wing excuse for bigotry.
This session, Jensen sponsored Senate Bill 128, which would have allowed businesses to deny service to people based on their sexual orientation and not fear a lawsuit.
Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocates, and even some Republicans, decried the legislation as discriminatory. Sen. Mark Kirkeby, R-Rapid City, called it “a mean, nasty, hateful, vindictive bill.” It was killed in committee.
But Jensen remains a supporter of SB 128. He calls it a bill that would have ensured the freedom of businesses to choose their clientele.
“It’s a bill that protects the constitutional right to free association, the right to free speech and private property rights,” he said.
(h/t: Tom Kludt.)