Kendal Oliver, an Army veteran who served six years in Afghanistan, was turned away by a barbershop in Southern California. According to News4 Los Angeles Oliver, who says he identifies "more as a man than a woman," was refused service. The owner Richard Hernandez said he belongs to the Church of God and his religious beliefs "prevent me from cutting a woman's hair," even if they identify themselves as a man.
California's Unruh Civil Rights Act (named after it's founder Jesse Unruh) prohibits businesses from discrimation based on gender and sexual orientation. Oliver and Hernandez had a civil discussion about the matter in which Oliver described his treatment as "hurtful" and "embarrassing." Hernandez stood his ground claiming, "these are my religious convictions and they would violate my conscience."
This incident recalls the case of Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who in June 2015 refused to grant same-sex marriage licenses on behalf of her religious beliefs. One of the denied couples took Davis to court, and she ended up spending five days in jail.
So far no charges have been filed in the Los Angeles case. What do you think Oliver should do next? What do you think should happen to the barber and his business?This post was originally published on Switch Media