Letters: Businesses can’t discriminate

Re “Can discrimination be legal?,” Editorial, Dec. 12

Despite your editorial, no business that serves the public — even an “expressive business” like a wedding photographer — has a 1st Amendment right to discriminate against gay men and women. Otherwise, a portrait studio at a local mall could refuse to take pictures of Jewish or interracial families if the photographer claimed a religious disapproval.

Free-lance “creators of expression” can preserve their autonomy by not soliciting business from the general public.

The Supreme Court has ruled that anti-discrimination laws exist to protect marginalized individuals from “the daily affront and humiliation of being denied access to facilities that are ostensibly open to the public.”


When you sell commercial goods and services in the public marketplace, the Constitution doesn’t give you the right to violate state laws that protect customers against iscrimination.

Joshua Block

New York

The writer is a staff attorney with the ACLU’s LGBT Project.


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