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Sarah Sanders vs the Red Hen

This is an unfortunate event, and I can definitely see how this woman felt she was standing up for her convictions and making a statement.

I just don’t see how this is much different than refusing service to a gay couple or minority.


the way i read it: one is discrimination and the other is a standard refusal of service.

the difference is that the supreme court ruling essentially legalized discrimination against gay people everywhere by allowing businesses to refuse them service by citing a religious objection on the grounds that they’re gay. the red hen situation was a justifiable refusal of service: the presence of sanders’ group detracted from the well-being of other patrons and the restaurant itself.


I thought that the baker was in the same situation. If you have a business, can’t you refuse to serve anyone? I’ve seen that in the signage before and although I’ve never been turned away, I would respect a business owner’s right to do so. Anyway, Sarah Huckabee is an interesting person in that she has sold her soul to the devil, but she seems to be at peace with it…

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The problem with the baker was not that the couple was denied service, and they weren’t made to pay all that money because a gay couple didn’t get a cake. The damages the couple were awarded were because the owners of the bakery repeatedly harassed the couple and doxxed them on facebook, which resulted in some rather unpleasant attention. I really hate that you never see that part when you read about it, it’s always about the discrimination. That sucks, but it’s not as bad as posting someone’s home address for all your supporters on facebook to do with as they please. It didn’t end at the rejection, and that was the real problem.

Even comparing this to Sarah Huckabee Sanders being told politely that she wasn’t welcome in a restaurant is ridiculous. Sanders is a public figure who was kindly told to go away. The couple in Colorado received death threats because assholes who run a bakery posted their address and the fact that they were gay to a group of their crazypants supporters on the internet.


No, you are not free to discriminate.

The egregious ethics violation Sanders committed afterward doesn’t really help her case here.

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My girlfriend and I are having the same debate. I say there’s a difference between discriminating against a category of people and refusing to serve a particular known individual based on who they are and what they have done.

So if you think kicking Huckabee-Sanders out of this restaurant was wrong, let me ask you this: if you own a business, do you feel obligated to serve anyone and everyone?
Is there no one whom you feel is so dispicable and disgusting that you would refuse to serve them?

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“A marginalized group of people” is different from “a bad person.” “Asshole” is not a protected group. It’s the difference between asking Sarah Huckabee Sanders to leave and asking people with brown hair (to pick a trait at random) to leave. One is discrimination against people with brown hair, the other is asking a willful liar and actively terrible person to leave.

Brown hair is a ridiculous and arbitrary trait to discriminate against as a whole. People who lie on purpose to destructive and deadly ends should be asked to leave. You are within your rights to kick her out for the latter, not the former.


You can refuse service to somebody that doesn’t meet, say, appropriate attire or behavior that’s consistent with the business’ values or norms. You cannot refuse service to somebody by discriminate against them based on race, color, religion, nationality, disability, etc.

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Religion is rightfully protected and should not be treated as something it’s appropriate to ask someone to change or discriminate against.


Consider that beliefs should have consequences if they’re acted out.
Consider whether most all faith-based behavior is more likely to lead to tribalism and exclusion.
Consider that cosseting irrational thinking is what gives us bare-faced lying politicians.

Consider that literally all of those things can also be applied to political parties, and the way people talk about Dems and the GOP they should be at this point. Whether murder is committed by a Christian or an atheist, Republican or Democrat, it is still illegal and the victim is still dead. You don’t need religion to be a white supremacist or anti-LGBT or in any other way oppressive, and any high-school misfit can tell you that. I know many great scientists who are very religious, and atheists who are for some goddamn reason antivax.

So there you go. Laws already cover murder and people who are inclined toward tribalism and in-crowds will find ways to be tribal and exclusive.

Religion, however, is quite often cultural, sometimes racial, sometimes in one’s family going back thousands of years. It can connect us to our past and family history in profound ways. For some of us it’s a core belief that’s part of who we are and we couldn’t leave it behind if we wanted to. My religion is just as much a part of me as my belief that abortions should be legal in all cases, women and nonbinary people should be paid as much as men and treated equally in the workplace, and different marginalized groups face unique issues that need to be addressed in order for them to achieve equal footing in society. I can’t just decide not to believe any of those things. I’m glad they’re protected and I don’t have to try.


I just want to bring this conversation back to why Sarah Sanders was refused service. It wasn’t because of her religious beliefs or the fact that she’s a Republican, it was because of her unethical behavior in office.

“I explained that the restaurant has certain standards that I feel it has to uphold, such as honesty and compassion and cooperation. I said, ‘I’d like to ask you to leave.’”


So can I refuse to let the CEO of Wells Fargo shop in my store?

Or if there is a group of tobacco executives dining in my restaurant, can I refuse them service?

Was Sara’s presence or her group causing a disruption in the greater service of the restaurant?

I understand the proprietors act of resistance/protest and I think it was effective.

It does raise a lot of questions for me though.

Sure just tell them it’s non-smoking restaurant and that you’d like to keep it that way. :wink:

Seriously though, I think this is a supper foggy grey area, that only the courts could decide.

This should more than answer your questions and give you the framework needed to apply this to every other question you might have on the topic.

What Conditions Allow a Restaurant to Refuse Service?
There a number of legitimate reasons for a restaurant to refuse service, some of which include:

  • Patrons who are unreasonably rowdy or causing trouble
  • Patrons that may overfill capacity if let in
  • Patrons who come in just before closing time or when the kitchen is closed
  • Patrons accompanied by large groups of non-customers looking to sit in
  • Patrons lacking adequate hygiene (e.g. excess dirt, extreme body odor, etc.)

In most cases, refusal of service is warranted where a customer’s presence in the restaurant detracts from the safety, welfare, and well-being of other patrons and the restaurant itself.

The answer is that you can refuse to serve someone even if they’re in a protected group, but the refusal can’t be arbitrary and you can’t apply it to just one group of people.

To avoid being arbitrary, there must be a reason for refusing service and you must be consistent. There could be a dress code to maintain a sense of decorum, or fire code restrictions on how many people can be in your place of business at one time, or a policy related to the health and safety of your customers and employees. But you can’t just randomly refuse service to someone because you don’t like the way they look or dress.

Second, you must apply your policy to everyone. For example, you can’t turn away a black person who’s not wearing a tie and then let in a tieless white man. You also can’t have a policy that sounds like it applies to everyone but really just excludes one particular group of people. So, for example, a policy against wearing headscarves in a restaurant would probably be discriminatory against Muslims.


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Wait, what about all these places that have those signs saying “we reserve the right to refuse service”?

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The rational guideline is that you shouldn’t discriminate against someone for things they can’t control, like age, race, sexual preference, county of origin, or parental crimes.
Religion is, of course, voluntary.

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If the staff of the establishment had informed the owner that the operations of the business was going to be impacted by a customer or group of customers, IMO the owner had to make a decision, other customers could also have been impacted if service was disrupted.