Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines public accommodations as a limited number of facilities which are open to the public. Examples include hotels, motels, restaurants, theaters, and all other public accommodations engaged in interstate commerce; exempted private clubs without defining the term "private".
Under United States federal law, public accommodations must be accessible to the handicapped and may not discriminate on the basis of "race, color, religion, or national origin." Private clubs were specifically exempted under federal law as well as religious organizations. Title II's definition of public accommodation is limited to "any inn, hotel, motel, or other establishment which provides lodging to transient guests," and therefore is inapplicable to churches. Section 12187 of the ADA also exempts religious organizations from public accommodation laws, but religious organizations are encouraged to comply.
Various states in the United States, in a number of nonuniform laws, provide for nondiscrimination in public accommodation.
Federal legislation dealing with public accommodations include these:
Many states and their subdivisions prohibited discrimination in places of public accommodation prior to the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title II). As of 2015, 45 states have an anti-discrimination public accommodation law for nondisabled individuals. The laws all protect against discrimination based upon race, gender, ethnicity, and religion. There are 19 states that prohibit discrimination in public accommodation based upon age.
Several states also have protections for breastfeeding in public. In addition several states provide for non-discrimination in public accommodation when based upon sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
Private clubs were exempted under federal law but not in many states' laws. For example, in interpreting a Minnesota law in their 1984 ruling Roberts v. United States Jaycees, the United States Supreme Court declared the previously all-male United States Junior Chamber, a chamber of commerce organization for persons between the ages of 18 and 36, to be a public accommodation, thus compelling it to admit women.
- Anti-discrimination law
- List of cities and counties in the United States offering an LGBT non-discrimination ordinance
- Reasonable accommodation
- The ADA: Questions and Answers, The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Jan 17, 1997, retrieved Jul 23, 2012
- The Civil Rights Act of 1964: Title II - Public Accommodation, retrieved Jul 23, 2012
- Sec. 201(e), Civil Rights Act of 1964
- Religious organizations and institutions were not mentioned in Title II of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but they received an exemption under Title VII. See Corporation of the Presiding Bishop of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. Amos, 483 U.S. 327 (1987).
- "Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990,AS AMENDED with ADA Amendments Act of 2008". www.ada.gov. Retrieved 2016-07-06.
- For a list of states and localities that had anti-discrimination public accommodation legislation at the time, see Heart of Atlanta Motel, Inc. v. United States, 379 U.S. 241, page 259 note 8 (1964) (listing statutes) and Bell v. Maryland, 378 U.S. 226, pages 284–285 (1964) (listing states and localities).
- Lerman, Lisa G.; Sanderson, Annette K. (1978). "Comment, Discrimination in Access to Public Places: A Survey of State and Federal Public Accommodations Laws". New York University Review of Law and Social Change. 7: 215–311.
- Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina and Texas do not have such laws. "State Public Accommodation Laws". National Conference of State Legislatures.
- Breastfeeding Laws, National Conference of State Legislatures, May 2011, retrieved April 4, 2013
- Chapman, Kelly Catherine (2012). "Gay Rights, the Bible, and Public Accommodations: An Empirical Approach to Religious Exemptions for Holdout States" (PDF). Georgetown Law Journal. 100 (5): 1783–827. SSRN . Archived from the original (PDF) on 2 April 2015.
- "Jaycees Vote to Admit Women to Membership". The New York Times. August 17, 1984. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
- Cortner, Richard C. (2001). Civil Rights and Public Accommodations: The Heart of Atlanta Motel and McClung Cases. Lawrence, Kansas: University Press of Kansas. ISBN 978-0-7006-1077-8.
- Carothers, Leslie A. (1968). The Public Accommodations Law of 1964: Arguments, Issues and Attitudes in a Legal Debate. Northampton, Massachusetts: Smith College. OCLC 160269.
- Mook, Jonathan R. (2009). ADA Amendments Act of 2008 and its impact on public accommodations and commercial facilities. Newark, New Jersey: Matthew Bender (Lexis-Nexis). OCLC 428087829.
- Office on the Americans with Disabilities Act, United States Department of Justice. The Americans with Disabilities Act Title III technical assistance manual. Washington, D.C.: United States Government.
- Gottry, James M. (2011). "Just Shoot Me: Public Accommodation Anti-Discrimination Laws Take Aim at First Amendment Freedom of Speech". Vanderbilt Law Review. 64 (3): 961–1003.
- Singer, Joseph William (2015). "We Don't Serve Your Kind Here: Public Accommodation and the Mark of Sodom" (PDF). Boston University Law Review. 95: 929–50. SSRN .
- Sepinwall, Amy J. (2015). "Conscience and Complicity: Assessing Pleas for Religious Exemptions in 'Hobby Lobby's' Wake" (PDF). The University of Chicago Law Review. 82 (4): 1897–980. JSTOR 43655477.
- McClain, Linda C. (2011). "Religious and Political Virtues and Values in Congruence or Conflict?: On Smith, Bob Jones University, and Christian Legal Society" (PDF). Cardozo Law Review. 32 (5): 1959–2007. SSRN .