South Dakota GOP lawmaker: KKK business owners deserve right to ban blacks and gays

By David Edwards
Monday, March 17, 2014 12:54 EDT
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South Dakota state Sen. Phil Jensen
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South Dakota state Sen. Phil Jensen (R) believes that a recently-killed bill that would have let companies discriminate against LGBT people should have also let businesses owners in the Ku Klux Klan refuse service to African-Americans.

Last week, the State Senate Judiciary voted, five to two, to kill Jensen’s SB 128, which went even beyond Arizona’s failed discrimination bill by explicitly saying that businesses could discriminate based on “sexual orientation.”

“As a follower of Jesus Christ, I’m commanded to love, to love everyone. That doesn’t mean I must condone the lifestyle choices that someone chooses,” Jensen explained to South Dakota Public Radio. “The GLBT movement doesn’t just want societies approval. They want their lifestyle choices applauded; they want standing ovations.”

And in an interview with Rapid City Journal that was published over the weekend, the Republican lawmaker took his support for discrimination to the extreme.

“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’s free market ideal would have directly contradicted the public accommodations section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which said that businesses had to serve everyone equally.

Black Hills Center for Equality President David Patton pointed out to the Rapid City Journal that time had proven that solutions like Jensen was suggesting did not work for ensuring equal rights.

“The free market didn’t do away with slavery,” Patton observed.

Listen to the audio below from South Dakota Public Radio, broadcast Feb. 18, 2014.

(h/t: Talking Points Memo)

David Edwards
David Edwards
David Edwards has served as an editor at Raw Story since 2006. His work can also be found at Crooks & Liars, and he's also been published at The BRAD BLOG. He came to Raw Story after working as a network manager for the state of North Carolina and as as engineer developing enterprise resource planning software. Follow him on Twitter at @DavidEdwards.
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