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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

NY - DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL Tells City To "Back Off" On Discrimination Case Against Williamsburg Shop Owners

NY - Charging that the city’s Human Rights Commission has “overreached badly” in charging Williamsburg Satmar shop owners with discrimination for posting “modesty signs” in their store windows, a NEW YORKDAILY NEWS editorial says “It’s the secular state that’s overstepping its bounds” and that the city needs to “back off.”

In analyzing the case of the seven Satmar shop owners who placed signs, written in both English and Spanish, saying that “shoes, shirt and long sleeves are required, and shorts and low-cut necklines are not allowed,” the editors say that city’s case against the Satmars—- for violating Section 8-107(4)(1) of the Administrative Code of New York, which prohibits a store from “directly or indirectly denying service based upon a person’s actual or perceived race, creed, color, national origin, age, gender, disability, marital status, partnership status, sexual orientation or alienage or citizenship status”—-just doesn’t pass muster when placed in the context of a city where “Businesses—-from Hooters to the Harvard Club, Webster Hall to the Four Seasons—-can require dress codes for customers (as well as employees).”

The editors also call out the handling of the case by Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel Clifford Mulqueen, who is on record one time as saying that the Satmar signs are “A public accommodation trying to impose its religious beliefs on other people,” while on different occasion he says the signs made “one protected group of individuals [women] uncomfortable.”

Further questioning Mulqueen and the commission’s case, the editors cite Mulqueen’s interview with VIN NEWS in which he said doesn’t “actually remember” who filed the complain that led to the suit.

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