A northern Michigan hair salon owner is under investigation by the attorney for the City of Traverse City for violating a non-discrimination city ordinance.
Studio 8 Hair Salon owner Christine Geiger made national headlines after she said her business would not serve anyone who “identifies as anything other than a man/woman.” Instead, she encouraged them to “seek services at a local pet groomer.”
The city’s non-discrimination ordinance, adopted in 2010, states that no person would be “denied the enjoyment of his or her civil rights or be discriminated against because of their actual or perceived race, color, religion … sexual orientation or gender identity.”
Studio 8’s now deleted Facebook post follows a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, in which a Colorado-based web designer argued her state’s anti-discrimination law would compel her to create wedding websites for same sex-couples against her faith.
“We don’t believe that she falls under that exemption,” said Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan’s LGBTQ+ Project. “That applies to (careers) like speech writers or muralists, where they’re conveying a certain message with their product. Very few customers are going to come to somebody who says, ‘no, I don’t care what (haircut) you want.’ That’s not the way she’d operate.”
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg lives in Traverse City with his husband Chasten, who was raised there.
When the hair product line carried by Studio 8 caught wind of Geiger’s statement, they dropped her as a representative of the company. Specifically, “The stylist who made those comments no longer has authorization to represent our brand or products.”