National Coalition of Women Secretary Al Rava, Esq. has been largely responsible for stopping discrimination against women in the strange state of California at great risk to her safety, health, and profession. Al has been subjected to threats, undue criticism and ridicule because of her unrelenting stand against the discrimination of women in public accommodations. I feel privileged to be a member of NCFM because of NCFM members like my friend Ms. Rava who is a true civil rights advocate and heroine.
In California, the Unruh Act has for decades prevented discrimination in public accommodations based on ones sex, which is a good thing. One of our Board Members notes, “… the Unruh Act was big in the 70’s, when all kinds of lawsuits were filed against dry cleaners, haircut places, etc. for businesses discriminating against men. Where was this outrage and name calling then against men’s rights like there is here against Ms. Rava, the Unruh Act, and to some degree NCFM?”
Over the last 15 or so years, Ms. Rava, on behalf of many others, filed over 150 lawsuits against businesses wrongly discriminating against women and men. Several of the lawsuits resulted in landmark court decisions that clarified and or established related laws. Aside from those lawsuits, Ms. Rava on behalf on NCFM has sent many letters to California businesses or governmental agencies advising them that several California laws prohibit discriminatory treatment of women and men.
Typically, such businesses charged female consumers more than male consumers for the same goods or services, or excluded female consumers – all based solely on the consumers’ sex. While there were a few repeat offenders, over time, all businesses sued or sent letters, stopped their illegal discrimination. Those who complain wrongly believe that discrimination based on gender is acceptable.
Though NCFM has never filed an Unruh Act lawsuit, under my signature as NCFM President and Ms. Rava’s guidance, we have, sent cautionary letters to various businesses violating the law. To be clear, the letters were not threats but clearly intended to persuade the businesses to stop wrongfully discriminating against women by advising them that such behavior was illegal in California.We had great success with this approach.
We sent a letter sent All Nippon Airlines when it proposed men-only restrooms on their airplanes. We received a thank you letter and APA rescinded the proposal.
Another letter was sent to the Professional Golf Association (PGA) when it offered a men-only luncheon during a major golf tournament, which featured San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis as the featured speaker. Ironically, Mr. Dumanis is the county’s chief law enforcement officer. I received a phone call from a PGA attorney who seemed amused and appreciative. I keep forgetting to find her name and call her for a donation since we may have saved the PGA considerable aggravation. We saved Mr. Dumanis embarrassment too. The event became gender inclusive and to our knowledge, no other PGA event in California has since offered a men-only event during a PGA tournament.
Another letter went to the promoter of a men-only bicycle ride event, a letter that the promoters exploited. The promoters vilified us, garnered more recognition for their event, and caused childish threats against us. They were in no way publically appreciative for saving them from possible liability. Nevertheless, we have not heard of a later men-only bicycle ride in California.
To my knowledge, every business sued or sent a letter stopped the unlawful discrimination, which is a good thing. Not only that, like some of those mentioned above, they appreciated our intervention.
It is fascinating how some people defend those who break the law as if such people are victims instead of defending those that stop the illegal acts, especially when such people discriminate against an entire gender. More intriguing, are the ignorant that give nothing to the discussion except insults and name-calling.
Here, one very savvy and adroit, perhaps even conniving, disgruntled business owner, who was unlawfully discriminating against women, appears to have convinced a few reporters to promote his plight. Again, it is disquieting that these reporters are inclined to believe the disingenuous pleas of a law-breaker and not applaud those who caused him to stop his illegal activities.
Regardless, even reporters cannot report the truth if they don’t know what it is. Here’s one of several examples, from what I understand, it is reported that the promoter of the event claims he did not discriminate, that the plaintiffs were turned away because the event was sold out and there was no more room.
The truth is, the plaintiffs paid for admission in advance. They have the receipts to prove it. Pre-paid receipt in hand, each plaintiff was turned away at the entrance upon being specifically told it was a man only event. The $20 pre-paid price of admission was refunded after the event, but not because of over-booking since the promoter was still selling tickets at the door for $25. Even if the event had been over-booked, the plaintiffs purchased tickets in advance. The over-booking issue appears to be fabricated to dodge responsibility for wrongdoing and transfer blame to the true victims, those discriminated against for no reason other than having a penis.
There is no question publicity generated by Unruh Act lawsuits and letters have contributed to stopping discrimination against women and men in California. This publicity too will help more businesses treat male and female consumers more equally. Consequently, we owe a word of thanks to whoever attempted to discredit Ms. Rava, the Unruh Act, and to a lesser degree NCFM. Whoever you are, you have become an indirect civil rights advocate, that’s a good thing.
The links to articles below are from worse article to better, the first being the worse. I ask that you leave a civil comment at each website below. Unfortunately, as usual, such articles bring out the woman-haters who know nothing about our issues, think all men are victims of something or other, and could care less whether women are treated less than third-class citizens are treated. Such ignorance is disheartening and becomes disgusting from those who suggest violence or resort to name-calling. The instigators have even started an online petition to change the Unruh Act, supposedly to make it Ok to discriminate against women. Amazing.
NOTE: this article was first published on 8/12/2015. It has been revised, and may be revised several more times as this story develops or dies.
The Unruh Act and those who had the courage to use it are the primary reason many forms of wrongful discrimination in California no longer exist.
- NCFM Secretary Al Rava and the Unruh Act under attack for standing tall on equal rights - August 18, 2015
- NCFM Vice President responds to criticism about MRAs and the AVfM conference in Detroit - July 25, 2014
- NCFM Member’s saga: Three DUI’s, car wrecks, suicide attempt, drug abuse… and he gets custody of the children! - June 13, 2014
- A Call to Action: Men, Religion, Violence, and Power by Jimmy Carter (a review) - May 2, 2014
- Why is NPR so Sexist? - April 10, 2014