GOP Lawmaker Says Businesses Should Be Allowed To Deny Services To Black People

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State Sen. Phil Jensen (R-S.D.) doesn’t believe governments should interfere in the private sector’s ability to engage in race-based discrimination, according to an interview published in the Rapid City Journal on Sunday.

“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,” Jensen told the Journal, advocating for the free market’s role in promoting civil rights.

His comments come after a recently failed attempt to advance controversial anti-LGBT legislation, which he introduced in January. Under the auspices of freedom of speech, the bill, SB 128, sought to permit South Dakota businesses and residents to refuse services to customers based on their sexual orientation.

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