- - Monday, June 25, 2018

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Last week, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was heckled by fellow diners at a Washington restaurant and ended up leaving the establishment to avoid an escalation of the situation. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was asked by the owners of a quaint restaurant in Lexington, Virginia, to take her business elsewhere (“Sanders: I was ‘told to leave’ Virginia restaurant because I work for President Trump,” Web, June 23). The justification for this less-than-hospitable reception? These two women happen to work for the administration of President Donald Trump.

I’m not intimately familiar with all the circumstances leading up to the actions of the owners and patrons of these establishments, but I haven’t read anywhere that anything disruptive or illegal was being done. These were simple, routine dining experiences.

Conversely, in the case of the Colorado baker Jack Phillips and the wedding cake he refused to bake, Mr. Phillips contends he would happily design and bake any cake for his gay customers — with the exception of a custom-designed cake celebrating their marriage, which he opposed on religious grounds. In the case of two gentlemen asked to leave a Starbucks in Philadelphia, it was company policy that non-paying customers were not allowed access to the restrooms. These cases are fundamentally different from denying someone routine service because of the identity of their employers.

I wonder what civil rights “icon” Rep. John Lewis of Georgia would say if Mrs. Sanders or Ms. Nielsen had been sitting at a lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, and been asked to leave.

RANDALL STEPHENS



Falls Church, Va.

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