Ever since White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was kicked out of a Lexington, Virginia restaurant simply for her political views, liberals have been celebrating. Finally, they thought, a member of the Trump administration got what was coming to them.
If they want to try that in the District of Columbia, however, they’d better watch out — it seems their own liberal laws could end up with them facing criminal charges.
First, let’s begin with what happened at the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington. Here’s Sanders’ tweet about the incident:
Last night I was told by the owner of Red Hen in Lexington, VA to leave because I work for @POTUS and I politely left. Her actions say far more about her than about me. I always do my best to treat people, including those I disagree with, respectfully and will continue to do so
— Stephanie Grisham (@PressSec) June 23, 2018
The owner of the Red Hen, Stephanie Wilkinson, made it clear Sanders was getting kicked out for her political beliefs.
“I would have done the same thing again,” Wilkinson said.
Just don’t try the same thing in Washington, D.C., however.
As Townhall.com pointed out, the District enacted a Human Rights Act in 1977. Apparently, one of the most liberal polities in the United States felt that it needed a comprehensive act to stamp out discrimination for good — liberals, of course, being very good at both discrimination and publicly appearing to be conspicuously against all forms of it.
However, they inadvertently made it legally impossible for restauranteurs like Wilkinson to make decisions like she made this weekend.
Here’s the text of the act: “It is the intent of the Council of the District of Columbia, in enacting this chapter, to secure an end in the District of Columbia to discrimination for any reason other than that of individual merit, including, but not limited to, discrimination by reason of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, familial status, family responsibilities, matriculation, political affiliation, genetic information, disability, source of income, status as a victim of an intrafamily offense, and place of residence or business.”
The law makes it illegal “(t)o deny, directly or indirectly, any person the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodations” to anyone under the grounds so listed above — including political affiliation.
And, if the city finds that you violated this law, “(t)he Attorney General for the District of Columbia shall institute, in the name of the District, civil proceedings including the seeking of such restraining orders and temporary or permanent injunctions, as are necessary to obtain complete compliance with the Commission’s orders. In the event that successful civil proceedings do not result in securing such compliance, the Attorney General shall institute criminal action.”
Now, this law is clearly insane. While the owner of the Red Hen acted inappropriately and uncivilly, in my opinion — not to mention in a manner that suggested her decision was based less on conviction and more on publicity — she certainly acted within the scope of the law. Leftist restaurants in D.C. don’t have that luxury.
You should be able to refuse service to an individual if that person’s political viewpoints are disagreeable to you. Now, if those viewpoints are those held by roughly half of the American populace, yes, that’s probably a bit closed-minded. But reading the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act makes it clear that a restaurant probably couldn’t ’86 Richard Spencer or David Duke. After all, reprehensible as those individuals may be, their reprehensibility stems from their political beliefs — and those are protected, aren’t they?
Of course, this was hardly what the District likely had in mind when they passed this 41 years ago. They probably thought that they were saving progressives from being discriminated against by hidebound, bigoted conservatives. That’s not quite how it works, however, and selective enforcement likely won’t hold up in criminal court.
So, have fun trying to follow Maxine Waters’ dictum to “get out and you create a crowd” if they see a Trump administration official, and to “push back on them. And you tell them they’re not welcome anymore, anywhere.” Thanks to the fine liberals that control D.C., that’s now a criminal offense. But what do you expect when you’re dealing with a city that elected Marion Barry?
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