Four women who were denied membership to the Elks Lodge in Hartford six years ago have taken their case to the state’s highest court. The Vermont Supreme Court heard arguments in the case today.
Last October, a superior court judge dismissed the women’s discrimination suit. That judge found that the Elks may be free to associate with whomever they choose. But lawyer Ted Hobson told the justices today that the Elks must comply with the state’s public accommodations law.
The national and local Elks lifted their bans on female members in 1995. The women were rejected for membership at the Hartford lodge in December of 1996. Elks lawyer Norman Watts told the court that the club’s private membership activities do not fall under the public accommodations law.