Five Washington area women who are members of the District of Columbia and the United States Jaycees filed a sex discrimination suit in D.C. Superior Court Tuesday in an effort to block plans by the organizations to expel female members.
The suit challenges the U.S. Jaycees' official policy announced last July by its president, Barry L. Kennedy, that chapters still admitting women members after last Dec. 1 would lose their charters.
In his policy statement, Kennedy said certain states had been allowed in a pilot project during the last three years to admit women to their state and local Jaycee organizations. Once the project ended, the organizations were to revert to male-only membership to remain in good standing, Kennedy said.
Kennedy recently warned about 80 chapters across the country, including the D.C. chapter, that they risk loss of charters unless they have complied fully with national Jaycees bylaws by the time the organization's board of directors meets this week in Tulsa, Okla.
Yesterday's suit requests that the court issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the defendants from "discriminating in their membership policy on the basis of sex and to prevent the national Jaycees from revoking the charters of local chapters until the issues are presented to the court.
A hearing on the request is scheduled at 10 a.m. today.
Plaintiffs in the case are Mary Bloomfield of Wheaton; Susan DeWitt and Barbara Guyon, both of Washington; Sara Mann of McLean, and Beverly Ann Sincavage, of Arlington. All are members of the D.C. and U.S. Jaycees.