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Private Clubs which Discriminate No. 233

Adopted 1998
Reaffirmed 1990
Reaffirmed 1991
Amended 1992
Amended 1994
Amended 1995
Reaffirmed 1996
Reaffirmed 1997
Reaffirmed 1998
Amended 1999
Reaffirmed 2001
Revised 2002
Reaffirmed 2004

Amended 2005

Reaffirmed 2006

Reaffirmed 2007

        Despite the progress that has been made, social clubs and organizations still exist that exclude persons from membership because of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion or national origin. Through these clubs' exclusionary policies, persons are unlawfully denied access to the valuable business and professional contacts that are developed and advanced in these so-called private clubs.

         Despite pressure and negative publicity, some elected and appointed officials and nominees for federal appointments have maintained membership and participate in the activities of discriminatory clubs, even though federal regulations prevent federal personnel from participating in meetings or conferences at facilities where discrimination is practiced on the basics of "sex, religion, or national origin, as well as race."

         While Senate scrutiny – and therefore public awareness – of these issues has focused on appointees to the Federal bench and the Department of Justice, it is critical that all nominees for Federal appointment who come before any Senate committee be closely questioned on their present and past participation in discriminatory clubs. There is an impressive body of legislative and judicial precedent developed over the past several years which provides a standard by which to judge whether prospective appointees have contributed to the perpetuation of discrimination by remaining in such clubs until the time of their nomination.

          ADA commends the actions of city councils and actions of state and local chief executives, who have put an end to such practices by placing large private clubs into the category of "public accommodation" and making discrimination by them illegal.

         ADA also applauds those clubs that have changed their rules, those persons who have canceled their memberships in discriminatory clubs, and those who, while retaining membership, continue to work from within to promote change.

       Therefore be it resolved that:

  1. ADA calls upon elected public officials to resign from private clubs that discriminate on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or national origin and to avoid attendance, formal or informal, at functions held at such places.
  2. ADA urges the President not to nominate anyone who has been a member of a discriminatory club within the last five years; and calls on the Federal Office of Personnel Management to enforce strictly Federal Regulations Instruction 246, including informing all Federal employees of its provisions. We call upon Congress to oversee OPM's enforcement of the regulations; and we call upon organizations and individuals to monitor whether public officials are participating in the activities of such clubs.
  3. ADA urges all Senate committees that confirm Presidential appointees to adopt policies similar to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions and the Judiciary Committees.
  4. ADA urges that Congress, state, and local legislative bodies, and chief executives follow the growing body of judicial opinion barring discriminatory practices by clubs, and the example of those who have acted by passing ordinances or issuing executive orders barring the participation of state and local officials in discriminatory private clubs; and we commit our Chapters to those local efforts.
  5. ADA will actively promote legislation on the federal, state, and local levels which prohibits tax deductions for memberships in discriminatory clubs.
  6. ADA will continue to cooperate with other organizations in all these efforts.


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No. 233
Politics and Government Policy Commission