South Dakota Republican: Business Should Be Allowed To Turn Away People Of Color

A Republican state lawmaker in South Dakota has apologized after saying businesses should be free to turn away people of color if they want to.

In a comment following the Supreme Court ruling that a Christian bakery was within its rights to refuse service to a gay couple who asked for a wedding cake, state Rep. Michael Clarke shared a story about the case on Monday, commenting it was a win for “freedom of speech and freedom of religion."

"He should have the opportunity to run his business the way he wants," Clark wrote in a Facebook post that has since been deleted, USA Today reported.

"If he wants to turn away people of color, then that('s) his choice,” he added.

Supreme-Court The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a baker who did not wish to bake a cake for a gay couple's wedding. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

And speaking in an interview with the Argus Leader, he elaborated: “If it’s truly his strongly based belief, he should be able to turn them away. People shouldn’t be able to use their minority status to bully a business."

The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, had the constitutional right to deny service to a gay couple who ordered a wedding cake in 2012, because of his religious beliefs.

Phillips wrote an op-ed for USA TODAY  explaining his decision to refuse service to gay couples. “What a cake celebrating this event would communicate was a message that contradicts my deepest religious convictions, and as an artist, that’s just not something I’m able to do, so I politely declined,” he said.

After his Facebook comments began to attract attention, the republican lawmaker apologized, removied his original statement from Facebook and saying he had jumped on the issue a little too quickly.

“I am apologizing for some of my Facebook comments," he wrote. "I would never advocate discriminating against people based on their color or race."