OK, now the complicated one. I understood this one pretty well fifteen or twenty years ago when some DC-area clubs were being pressed to admit women; now it’s all pretty vague. (Maybe someone had better holler for a lawyer now, to make sense of the muddle I’m about to make of things. :))
Some ‘private clubs’ are genuinely that: the only reasons you’d be there are if you’re a member, or a guest of a member. (Or if you’re employed by the club, but that’s different.) Other ‘private clubs’ are actually businesses, hosting a variety of public and semi-public functions, making their facilities available to those who want to pay to use them for meetings, banquets, and other events.
Once you open your doors for business, you can’t discriminate by race, sex, creed, national origin, and all that good stuff. IIRC, and I’m hoping I do (where are you, Sua, Jodi, minty, Zappo, etc., etc.? Heeelllllpp!! ;)), if the business functions range far beyond functions that principally serve club members, then the club can’t discriminate with respect to whom they offer those services. And if the line’s sufficiently blurred between the business and the club, then the club itself winds up being regarded as part of the business for nondiscrimination purposes.
Those last two sentences are the part that I’m not sure about the exact logic. But this much is true: some DC-area men’s clubs in the 1970s and 80s, facing the predicament of whether to admit women, grappled with the question of whether to ‘go private’, that is, to run themselves strictly as a private gentlemens’ club, in order to retain their right to remain all-male.
Since we don’t yet have a link, we don’t know what’s actually going on at Augusta. We don’t know what they do that involves nonmembers, other than conducting their famous annual golf tournament. If they don’t cater business luncheons, banquets, etc. involving large numbers of nonmembers, then it’s strictly a moral issue, but they’ve got the right, AFAIK, to do as they please. But if they in fact do these things, then their legal footing may be much shakier than if they catered to members and a relative handful of guests for private occasions.
[sub]C’mon, all you folks who have ‘Esq.’ after your name on your business cards. Jump right in, like I did without the advantage of your expertise and specialized training! :D)[/sub]