Legal Principle at Issue
Whether Minnesota’s anti-discrimination law applied to United States Jaycees.
The anti-discrimination law could be enforced against United States Jaycees.
United States Jaycees, a nonprofit national membership corporation with the goal to promote and foster the growth and development of young men’s civic organizations, limited regular membership to young men between 18 and 35 years old. Associate membership was open to those ineligible for regular membership, such as women and older men. Two local chapters in Minnesota were found to be violating the bylaws by admitting women as regular members. After the chapters were notified by the national organization that revocation of their charters was to be considered, members filed discrimination charges with the Minnesota Department of Human Rights. They alleged that the exclusion of women from full membership violated the Minnesota Human Rights Act, which makes it “an unfair discriminatory practice … [t]o deny any person the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of a place of public accommodation because of race, color, creed, religion, disability, national origin or sex.”
Importance of Case
The Court noted that the organization did not maintain “the distinctive characteristics that might afford constitutional protection to the decision of its members to exclude women.”