...Only the Very Best Christian Clientele
An old rule of the common law is that an innkeeper may not arbitrarily refuse a traveler shelter. If the wayfarer is behaved and willing to pay, he may not be relegated to the manger when there is room at the inn. The rule was originally a product less of Christian ethics than of British convenience. It was extended to include the hostelries that replaced inns in the burgeoning cities, became part of the common law in America, and was implemented by penal statutes in a number of states. After the Civil War, the provision of the common law was enacted into Federal law but voided by the Supreme Court as an invasion of states’ rights.
Subsequently, nineteen states north and west of the Mason-Dixon line enacted legislation providing, generally, for “full and equal” accommodation, regardless of race or religion, in such public places as bath houses, swimming pools, shooting galleries, as well as hotels and resorts. Ten states prohibit discriminatory advertising—Colorado, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin—but of these New Hampshire and Maine do not forbid discrimination itself. New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Connecticut have state commissions which hear complaints of discrimination of one kind or another and may enjoin the practice by administrative action. And, of course, the common law still serves theoretically as the basis for suit anywhere.
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