Law Would Penalize Single-Sex Clubs

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WASHINGTON -- In an effort to pressure Augusta National Golf Club to open its doors to women, two lawmakers Wednesday introduced a bill that would bar corporations from taking tax deductions for meals and entertainment at gender-exclusive clubs.
 
'We think it's wrong for corporations to write off big expenditures for entertainment, meetings, and advertising at clubs that keep women out, while they target women's pocketbooks,' said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., a sponsor of the measure. 'There's nothing new - men play and women pay.'
 
Maloney said the law would eliminate tax write-offs for business expenses at all such exclusionary clubs - even those open only to women. The bill's other sponsor, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif., helped implement a similar measure in California in 1987.
 
Many corporate leaders are members of the all-male golf club, which hosts the Masters. Club chairman Hootie Johnson has said Augusta National would not invite a woman to join 'as long as I live.'
 
In response to Wednesday's proposal, club spokesman Glenn Greenspan said: 'Millions of Americans belong to single-gender clubs and countless others believe they are a valid part of our social fabric. The country has spoken on this issue and the fact is that they have rejected this pointless campaign.'
 
The two lawmakers were joined Wednesday by Martha Burk, who as head of the National Council of Women's Organization has led public protests against the golf club. She said the current tax code effectively underwrites gender discrimination.
 

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