The UK Department of Communities and Local Government is looking to take on discriminatory golf clubs, among other injustices, in a new Single Equality Act, as proposed in a consultation document released yesterday. The ultimate aim is to simplify some of the UK's 40-odd years of discrimination laws, but the current proposal seems a little off the mark: among its priorities are such (it claims) "common-sense" measures as abolishing inequalities in golf clubs and legally guaranteeing a woman's right to breastfeed in all (public and private) child-friendly venues.
Such legislation is apparently necessary because, as The Guardian reports,
Rosie Dodds of the National Childbirth Trust said: "13% of women in England and 16% in Wales have been asked to stop or made to feel uncomfortable when breastfeeding in a public place."
Private, single-sex organizations would, however, be excluded from the law:
Private clubs and associations – we do not favour preventing people setting up clubs which have membership targeted at one sex or group.
But we believe that people being treated as second class citizens when a club is open to all is not acceptable. For example, there are still golf clubs which restrict the times their female members can have access to club facilities or play during the day or bar them from being part of the running of the club.
This all-or-nothing measure would, of course, directly discourage membership reform among the most traditional private organizations. After all, why grant excluded groups partial membership at all when they would be legally obliged to demand full rights and privileges?
Sterling logic from the British government.