Apparently, there's a state lawmaker in South Dakota who thinks it's okay in 2018 for businesses to refuse service to customers based on the color of their skin.
Michael Clark, a Republican member of the South Dakota House of Representatives, made a series of controversial comments in a since-deleted Facebook post. Shortly after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple because of religious objections, Clark wrote that the ruling was a "win for freedom of speech and freedom of religion."
One of Clark's followers questioned his endorsement of the decision and asked, "If he decided he didn't want to do a wedding cake because a couple is black, you would support that as well?"
"It is his business," Clark replied. "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."
Clark received immediate backlash for his comments, as South Dakota residents pointed out that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibited discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Clark reportedly deleted the post on Tuesday and admitted that he "jumped in on it a little bit too fast."
In a follow-up interview with his local Argus Leader newspaper, Clark then defended his thought process. "If it’s truly his strongly based belief, he should be able to turn them away," he said. "People shouldn’t be able to use their minority status to bully a business." Then, as negative feedback to his comments mounted, he issued a written apology that read, "I am apologizing for some of my Facebook comments. I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race."
The Argus Leader points out that Clark has already filed petitions to run for re-election in November and he doesn't face a primary challenger. A Democratic candidate, Toni Miller, says, "He doesn’t understand the rights of people he represents. He is not qualified for the office he holds."