Legislation to force the kind of private clubs in which important business is conducted to open their doors wider is advancing in Sacramento.
Assemblyman Terry B. Friedman (D-Tarzana) has introduced legislation to prohibit the issuance and renewal of liquor licenses to private clubs that discriminate on the basis of color, race, religion, ancestry, national origin, sex or age.
This legislation (AB 2187) follows on the heels of the opinion of Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp that such a law would be constitutional and would not interfere with the club members' freedom of association.
Another bill (AB 239), introduced by Assemblywoman Gwen Moore (D-Los Angeles), would prohibit members of private clubs that discriminate from taking income tax deductions for business expenses incurred at the clubs. Those Californians who do not belong to these clubs should not have to pay for those who do.
These bills should be adopted. For all the changes that are beginning to be made, not enough changes are being made.
These clubs are public accommodations for a certain public, but they should be held to the same overarching rules against discrimination that apply to public accommodations for everyone. Our nation is committed to equality of opportunity for everyone; everything feasible should be done to further this goal. The proposed state laws, and somewhat similar city ordinances, point in the right direction.