David Bernstein has an interesting post on how far California has taken its public accommodation laws, and offers this example:
There is a German restaurant called the Alpine Village Inn, in Torrance California. A group of four neo-Nazis went there to eat, each wearing a lapel pin with a swastika on it. The management asked them to take off the lapel pins. They refused. The management asked them to leave. They refused. The management called the police, who arrested them.
Then, remarkably, the Southern California ACLU gets involved, and sues the restaurant for calling the police on the Nazis! This much I’ve confirmed from media accounts. According to the commenter who first alerted me to this story, “the defendants’ insurer eventually settled following unsuccessful pretrial challenges to the complaint, believing they could not prevail under California law!”
The lawsuit was brought under California’s Unruh Act, which provides that “all persons within the jurisdiction of this state are free and equal, and no matter what their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, or medical condition are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind whatsoever.” The California courts have held that the protected classes delineated by the Act are not exclusive; the Act also protects arbitrary discrimination by a business establishment based on similar characteristics to the above. Apparently, the insurer thought that “political views” was sufficiently similar to “religion” that the courts would likely rule against the insured.
The big question I would have is, could you use the Unruh Act in California to sue California Pizza Kitchen and Peet’s Coffee for their discrimination against people open carrying? It’s hard for me to see how that’s distinguished from neo-Nazis wearing swastikas, except perhaps for open carry being far less disgusting and vile.
I don’t agree with taking public accommodations this far at all, but the left has made this system. I see no reason why we shouldn’t use it against them so long as it prevails.