State Sen. Phil Jensen (R-S.D.) consider himself to be one of the most conservative people in South Dakota. He also believes that too many people in the Republican party or only Republicans in name. Recently Jensen came under fire for comments he made about a bill that would permit South Dakota businesses and residents to refuse services to customers based on their sexual orientation.
In an interview published in the Rapid City Journal Jensen’s logic didn’t quite earn him any brownie points.
“If someone was a member of the Ku Klux Klan, and they were running a little bakery for instance, the majority of us would find it detestable that they refuse to serve blacks, and guess what? In a matter of weeks or so that business would shut down because no one is going to patronize them,” Jensen told the Journal, advocating for the free market’s role in promoting civil rights.
President of the Black Hills Center for Equality David Patton, a vocal opponent of SB 128, rejected Jensen’s reasoning, citing the necessity of civil rights legislation to protect minority groups.
“The free market didn’t do away with slavery,” Patton told the Journal.
Although the bill was rejected, and some Republicans referred to it as deplorable and sick, Jensen is still in support of it. He says the bill would have ensured the freedom of businesses to choose their clientele.
“It’s a bill that protects the constitutional right to free association, the right to free speech and private property rights,” he said.