This question is probably a bit broad, but on what basis is an individual's views taken into consideration whether they should be provided service from both brick and mortar/websites?

For instance, if you had the following people:

  • Person A - who believes that abortions should be reserved only for emergency/medical cases, and talked about it regularly.
  • Person B - who believes that transgender people should be allowed to service in the US military and campaigns for such.
  • Person C - who believes that religious organizations that take political positions should not be given exemptions from taxation and laws.

I've tried to pick fairly non-controversial examples, but I'd also like to include the more extreme versions (e.g. someone who dislikes Muslims and others who dislikes White/Caucasian individuals).

Can an organization (secular, private), choose to deny service to those individuals based on their views on that topic? And what would that look like online vs in a physical store?

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2 Answers 2


Yes, they're able to discriminate as long as its not illegal discrimination; and there's currently no law protecting people with these views.

Both at a physical or digital store, they can be refused service and told to leave.


A business can arbitrarily refuse service to anyone whatsoever, unless there is a specific statutory prohibition. In the US, race cannot be the basis for distinguishing how or who you serve as a business, anywhere. There are other protected categories such as age, sex, sexual orientation, marital or other family status, veteran status, religion and so on, but the protection depends on which jurisdiction you are dealing with, and what the nature of the business is.

Discrimination on the basis of political view is generally legal in the US, though in Seattle it is illegal to discriminate in public accommodations because of political ideology. There is or was a test of the matter involving a white supremacist who was banned from a gym for his views, but there is no indication that he filed a formal complaint. Volokh comments on this and similar laws.

The First Amendment prohibits the government from discriminating based on viewpoint, so employment in a state position is protected against viewpoint discrimination. A few states have laws limiting political discrimination w.r.t. employment, for example California (but this does not preclude firing a person because of reprehensible political conduct that damages the legitimate interests of the business).

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