Montgomery County delegates to the Maryland General Assembly gave a favorable report last week to a bill that would revoke liquor licenses and tax exemptions from any organizatiion in the county that discriminates on the basis of race, sex, national origin or religion.
The bill, MC257, was sponsored by Del. Stewart Bainum, a Democrat, after he surveyed 10 private clubs and country clubs in Montgomery County last fall and found evidence of discrimination.
The delegates voted 12-to-2 in favor of the bill, which now must be approved by the local senators before it is heard in the House Ways and Means Committee.
The bill is aimed mainly at country clubs and fraternal organizations. If passed, it would enable individuals to file discrimination complaints with the Human Relations Commission. A finding of discrimination would result in revocation of the liquor license and tax exemptions.
"Whether women will apply to the Elks is not the point," said Susan Ness, president of the Commission for Women and a supporter of the bill. "If an individual agrees with the purposes of the organization, they should be welcome to join. If (they are) not, there's no point of me contributing through my tax dollars to their exemptions."