All-Male Club Stops Selling Low-Alcohol Beer In Response To Lawsuit
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) _ The all-male Alta Club has decided to stop selling low-alcohol beer rather than change its 103-year-old policy of excluding women from membership, an attorney for the club said.
The action follows a ruling by 3rd District Judge Dean Conder in a lawsuit filed by Megan Marie Peters, 21, who claimed the downtown club violated her civil rights by denying her membership.
According to her attorney, Brian Barnard, Conder ruled Feb. 4 that the club’s policy violated the Utah Civil Rights Act. The act was amended in 1973 to cover establishments such as grocery stores and beer bars that are allowed under Utah law to sell beer with alcohol content of up to 3.2 percent.
Alta Club attorney Glenn Hanni said the club directors’ decision Monday to stop selling the low-alcohol beer was in response to Conder’s ruling.
″I guess about all we can say is we disagree with the judge’s decison, but we’re complying with it,″ he said.
Hanni said the prestigious private club would continue to sell so-called ″heavy beer,″ or that with a higher alcohol content than the 3.2 percent, in addition to wine and liquor.
However, Barnard said he intended to pursue his client’s suit on the grounds that the Alta Club remains in violation of state laws on civil rights and alcohol sales. Hanni disputed that argument, saying Conder ″grounded his decision solely on the sale of (low-alcohol) beer.″
Hanni said the club based its arguments on the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which provides for the right of free association.
Though the club bans women as members, it does allow women to visit its building as guests.