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Gerald, Esq
Gerald, Esq, Lawyer
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Experience:  30 years of experience
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Can an organizer of a chess tournament, which has minors as

Customer Question

Can an organizer of a chess tournament, which has minors as well as adults playing and is held in a hotel, ban a registered sex offender from playing or observing in the tournament? [State of Maryland]
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Gerald, Esq replied 1 year ago.

Hello,

Thank you for using Just Answer. I want to provide you the best service I can. Please feel free to ask any follow up questions you have.

I am an attorney with 30 years of experience; I hope to provide you information that will help you in resolving your question.

These types of questions, pertaining to when one can refuse a person participation in an event are becoming more and more difficult to answer as the courts continue to shift the rules as to when a person can be denied and when such denial becomes discriminatory.

However, we can still draw some safe conclusions from the most recent pronouncements by the court (for example the Hobby Lobby Case). In your described situation there is not stautory law or case law specifically instructive. However, basic concpets of law are applicable as follows:

First, unlawful discrimination can only take place when the person being barred from a public accomodation is part of a protected class of persons. Protected class pertains to those groups of persons who may have been subject to unlawful discrimination in the past. As such it is unlawful to discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or physical disability.

In regard to persons who have committed crimes geneally, and sex offenders specifically, they are not currently viewed as a member of a protected class. As such it is not unlawful to deny access to such a person on the basis of their registration as a sex offender.

In addition, (although this concept has been eroded over time) the law still recognizes the rights of private organizations and clubs to control who may join or participate in thier organization and events. Thus one can still operate a womens only fitness center, as an example.

This right of private persons and organizations to associate with whom they wish falls under the First Amendment right of freedom of association. That right, as applied in your factual description, would allow the private organization to deny participation or entry in the situation that you describe.

Here are some resources that may be useful to you:

https://www.bu.edu/law/central/jd/organizations/.../CARPENTERv2.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820068/

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Good luck,

Please note: Information given is not legal advice. Only your local attorney can give legal advice. I can't establish or accept an attorney-client relationship with you. All posts are available for public viewing.

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