My thought on allowing women to be full members of yacht clubs: of course. The reasonable reaction upon hearing that some private yacht club somewhere else does not do so: that doesn’t make sense; I wonder what mix of personalities and traditions keeps that going. The Rhode Island ACLU’s reaction: let’s use our access to activists’ donations and free lawyers (and the lack of consequences for legal bullying) to force the private club to conform to our worldview.
The organization’s reasoning makes it even worse:
In his statement, [RI ACLU lead bully Steven] Brown said, “The ACLU fully appreciates that private clubs have a general First Amendment right to associate without government interference – a right that we support. However, that right is not absolute. In this case, it is our understanding that the Club opens some of its facilities to non-members, serves as an important networking opportunity for business people in the community, and has benefited from state and federal funds over the years.
“It also seems clear that the ban on women members is not because the Club seeks to express some sort of political view about the role of women, but is instead simply an archaic vestige from another era when women were treated as second-class citizens in a wide variety of settings…”
To progressives, Americans lose their rights the moment they leave carefully protected enclaves. That’s why they can pretend to support rights that they really only support for people who agree with them. Ever let anybody who’s not in your club use its facilities? You lose your right “to associate without government interference.” Derive some social benefit from your club? You lose your rights. Ever received any public funds for anything, even if those funds went to other groups that might have practices with which not every American agrees? You got it: rights are gone.
And then as the perfect cherry on this ideological cow pie, the ACLU insinuates that it would be fine if the policy were an overt expression of an objectionable political view. If it’s limited to being a less-objectionable expression of deference to tradition, to be changed gradually over time at a pace suiting its members and befitting a social club? Ain’t got no rights.
By all means, speak against the policy, if you’re so inclined, but the ACLU repeatedly crosses the line into seeking to disenfranchise Americans and undermine our ability to accommodate each other as much as possible. In other words, the organization proves time and again that its claim to support civil liberties is cover for imposing a narrow view on the country through lawfare.