A 5th District Judge has taken under advisement a motion by an Elks Lodge attorney to dismiss a suit claiming the fraternal organization has illegally denied membership to a woman.
Sandra Beynon claims she was discriminated against because she is a woman and contends the St. George Dixie Elks Lodge No. 1743 is a business governed by civil rights laws because it is has a state beer license.But in oral arguments this week, attorney Glenn Hanni argued that the Elks is a private fraternal and charitable organization, and its lodge is an extension of members' homes.
"We're not out to make a profit," Hanni told Judge Philip Eves. And the lodge is "not out selling memberships for business purposes."
"We should have the right, without state interference to invite anyone we want to - be they black, red, yellow or whatever else."
The right to freedom of association is protected under the U.S. and state constitutions, he said.
Beynon's attorney, Brian Barnard, did not appear for oral arguments, notifying the court his claims were adequately presented in written briefs submitted to the court.
Beynon applied for membership Aug. 7, 1987, but was rejected because she failed to meet the organization's national standards, including a males-only provision.