Straight white man can’t even apply for COVID relief

By Bob Unruh

(Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash)
(Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash)

A legal foundation that has won numerous times as the U.S. Supreme Court now is taking on the state of Massachusetts over its programs that discriminate against individuals based on their sex and race.

It is the Pacific Legal Foundation that has gone to court against Yvonne Hao and Lawrence Andrews, officials of the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation, for allowing “only individuals of certain races, sex, or sexual orientation” to apply for a COVID-relief program.

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“Opportunity — including eligibility for government programs — should not depend on skin color, sex, or sexual orientation,” explained Andrew Quinio, a lawyer at the foundation.

“Massachusetts’s discriminatory requirements for COVID-19 relief are unequivocally wrong and unlawful. Thankfully the Constitution protects hardworking business owners from the commonwealth’s discriminatory actions.”

The case is over Brian Dalton, a retired Massachusetts law-enforcement officer.

The legal team noted that he had retired from the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department to found the New England Firearms Academy, providing certified firearms safety instruction.

He was forced to close for several months during the pandemic, and after selling assets and dipping into savings, he was forced to spend thousands of dollars on government-mandated safety measures when he was allowed to reopen.

When Massachusetts launched the Inclusive Recovery Grant Program, which is a grant program established to help small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, he wanted to apply.

But then he found out to qualify, “a business must meet at least one of the following criteria: Minority-owned, Woman-owned, Veteran-owned, Immigrant-owned, First-Generation Immigrant-owned, Disability-owned, and LGBTQ+-owned,” the foundation said.

Simply put, his race and sex prevented him from even applying for relief.

The filing, in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts’ Eastern Division, charges that the governor is “denying Mr. Dalton his fair opportunity at recovery because of his race, sex, and sexual orientation.”

But, the filing explains, that is unconstitutional.

“The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution forbids the government from discriminating against individuals on such bases,” the filing explains.

Among the charges in the case is that, “Heterosexual applicants are eligible to apply for the grant program only if they satisfy a separate criterion. LGBTQ+ applicants qualify automatically.”

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Solely because he is “a white, heterosexual male,” he is disqualified from applying, the filing charges.

The case seeks a court’s judgment that the program is discriminatory and therefore unconstitutional, as well as an order banning enforcement of the restrictions.

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