THE LAW: DISCRIMINATION ON THE BASIS OF CLOTHING OR CLUB MEMBERSHIP IS ILLEGAL
“Every person who, under color of law of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or other usage, of any state…subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United states or other person…the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law…” 42 U.S.C. section 1983.
The Massachusetts Civil Rights Act General Laws chapter 12, section III, provides that "Any person whose exercise or enjoyment. of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or of rights secured by the United States, or of rights secured by the Constitution or laws of the commonwealth, has been interfered with, may institute and prosecute a civil action for injunctive and other appropriate equitable relief, including the award of compensatory monetary damages."
Additionally, General Laws, chapter 272, section 92A makes it illegal for any tavern or restaurant to display any sign or notice which discriminates against persons of any class in the full enjoyment of the accommodations offered to the general public by such taverns or restaurants.
In the case of Cohen v. California 403 U.S. 15 (1971), the Supreme Court ruled that individuals have the constitutional right under the First Amendment, to wear clothing which displays writing or designs. 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 the clothing of his choice, is protected under the Massachusetts Civil Rights Act, and persons or establishments who discriminate on the basis of clothing or club membership are subject to lawsuit.