Women-only swimming pool hours draw fire but not from a source you’d expect

Women-only swimming pool hours draw fire but not from a source you’d expect
Image: Microgen/Shutterstock

A New York City municipal pool has designated certain hours as “women only.” Once upon a time, that directive would have been hailed by liberals as a victory. But this is 2016, and it has come under fire from critics on the left.

So what is their grievance? Right off the bat you know it is not that the policy discriminates against men. Men were relegated to second-class citizen status even before Barack Obama took the oath of the office for the first time. So who is the victim this time? No, it’s not transgenders, who can always circumvent the rule by saying they identify as women.

Critics, rather, object to the rule on the grounds that it violates the “constitutional separation of church and state.” I neglected to mention that the pool is in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, which has a high concentration of ultra-orthodox Hasidic Jews. The policy is meant to accommodate women, who are forbidden under the sect’s admittedly antiquated laws to exercise in the presence of men.

According to the Associated Press, New York’s Commission on Human Rights received an anonymous tip “a few months back” suggesting that the policy might be in violation of a citywide ban on sex discrimination in public facilities. But since the victims in that eventuality would be men — who hardly qualify as a protected class — the commission and Department of Parks and Recreation needed to find some other rights violation and ultimately hit upon the so-called “establishment clause” of the First Amendment. Since Jews do not constitute a protected class either, it was a win-win.

The Parks Department says it is reviewing the policy but the women-only sessions on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings, and Sunday afternoons will remain in place for now.

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy

Howard Portnoy has written for The Blaze, HotAir, NewsBusters, Weasel Zippers, Conservative Firing Line, RedCounty, and New York’s Daily News. He has one published novel, Hot Rain, (G. P. Putnam’s Sons), and has been a guest on Radio Vice Online with Jim Vicevich, The Alana Burke Show, Smart Life with Dr. Gina, and The George Espenlaub Show.


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