Lawsuit may put end to 'inclusive' grant program in Mass.

Lawsuit may put end to 'inclusive' grant program in Mass.

Lawsuit may put end to 'inclusive' grant program in Mass.

Massachusetts businesses that were harmed by the COVID-19 pandemic are being helped by a state grant program to help them recover but a law firm is suing because of one key requirement: A straight white male isn’t included in the long list of eligible recipients.

Just by its name, it doesn’t take a genius entrepreneur to figure out the “Inclusive Recovery Grant Program” is only “inclusive” if the business owner is not a straight, white, native-born male. Sure enough, Brian Dalton wanted to apply after being forced to close his firearms safety business for three months with no revenue to feed his family and pay the bills.

Now, with representation from the Pacific Legal Foundation, Dalton is suing in federal court to fight his exclusion from the program. He says he met the business-related requirements but is being turned away because of his race, his sex, and his sexual orientation.

After the business owner filed suit in late May, PLF was informed by the liberal State of Massachusetts the grant program has been halted while state government reconsiders its list of eligible and non-eligible business owners.

Andrew Quinio, an attorney at Pacific Legal Foundation, says Dalton and other plaintiffs in the lawsuit are promised “equal protection” under the 14th Amendment, which is being denied by the State of Massachusetts.

“This is undeniably unconstitutional,” he tells AFN.

Quinio, Andrew Quinio

While the lawsuit is demanding equality in Massachusetts, Quinio says PLF is aware of similar discriminatory programs affecting business owners in Stanford, Connecticut and in San Antonio, Texas.

In drought-stricken California, where dry ground affects everyone, a program for farmers only helps “socially disadvantaged” farmers in that state.

“And unfortunately people are getting desensitized to it or feel like that they do not have to step up and push back on this,” the attorney warns. “But the more this happens, without any response or challenge, you are going to see more and more of this country."