Rhode Island Yacht Club Excludes Lesbians

A secret ballot vote to overturn the male- only policy at Rhode Island’s century-old Westerly Yacht Club failed to reach a two-thirds majority last week, with 207 men voting for the change, and 171 men voting to keep it the way it is.Wives of male members can become associate members, who are able to run committees and organize parties, but are never given the full rights of a member. Single women and married lesbians are not admitted in any way.While gay men are allowed to join the yacht club, their husbands are not allowed to become associates. “How do I explain this to my daughters – that you can be the President, but you can’t be a member of the Westerly Yacht Club?” said associate member Danielle Hetu. Many speculate that the club’s policy remains intact because of older members’ resistance to change.