On the Basis of Clothing or Club Membership

Illinois Statute Section 68.5 (A) makes it an offence for any person to deny or refuse to another the full and equal enjoyment of the facilities of any public place of accommodation. Persons cannot be excluded therefrom so long as they conduct themselves in a peaceable and orderly manner. City of Chicago vs. Corney, 13 Ill. App. 2d 396, 142 N.E. 2d 160 (1957).

In addition, any person whose excercise or enjoyment of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States has been interfered with, or attempted to be interfered with may institute and prosecute a civil action for injunctive and other appropriate equitable relief, including the award of compensatory monetary damages. The Supreme Court ruled in the case ofCohen v. California, 403 U.S. 15 (1971) that individuals have the constitutional right under the First Amendment to wear clothing which displays writings or designs. A citizen has the right to move about freely and peaceable in public places, without fear of being discriminately removed therefrom. Nanez v. Ritger, 304 F. Supp. 35-4 (E.D. WIS). In addition, the right of an individual to freedom of association has long been recognized and protected by the United States Supreme Court. Thus, a person's right to wear clothing of his/her choice, as well as his/her right to belong to any club or organization of his/her choice is constitutionally protected, and persons or establishments who discriminate on the basis of clothing or club membership are subject to lawsuit.

- (Reprinted from Richard M. Lester)

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