There have been several recent court cases regarding Christian businesses that have refused to provide service to certain customers based on religious grounds.

Assuming secular law has no opinion (dina demalchuta does not apply), what are the Halachot of a Jewish-owned business refusing to serve certain customers? Is is permitted? Prohibited? Required in certain circumstances? Would it matter if the customer is Jewish?

For example, can\should\must a Jewish-owned florist refuse to provide flowers for a gay wedding (to use the case that's been in the news recently) ?

  • Do you have any reason to think there should be any regulations here?
    – Double AA
    Jul 1, 2014 at 20:13
  • I don't know. That's what I'm asking. If there are, and what they are.
    – Shmuel
    Jul 1, 2014 at 20:14
  • Related: judaism.stackexchange.com/questions/33729/…
    – Shmuel
    Jul 1, 2014 at 20:18
  • 2
    I think doing business with idolators is much more likely to be forbidden than with people who are gay. Jul 1, 2014 at 20:23
  • 1
    This is a very very broad question. The example you give is a florist's refusing to cater to a gay wedding; a comment already has mentioned doing business with idolators and another has mentioned a dress code, but even a simple no-shirt-no-shoes-no-service policy would fall in the scope of this question, as would a policy of refusing service to black people, or refusing to allow non-Jewish kids into your day school, or you name it.
    – msh210
    Jul 2, 2014 at 18:35

1 Answer 1


My wife used to co-own a lady's hat store. Since most of her clients were Jewish women, she would not allow any man into the store while women customers were in the store.

Religious reasons! Women had their head uncovered and a man could not see a woman's uncovered hair.

I can't say if she allowed men to buy a lady's hat when there were no women in the store. I think that was fine until a woman walked in to try on a hat. Then the man had to leave the store.

I asked a lawyer if this was legal, and he said this is absolutely legal according to local and state law.

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