A parks department accommodation to Orthodox Jews violates the rights of others who just want to cool off.
Sex-segregated hours have been the rule at the pool since “sometime during the 90s,” according to a spokesman for the parks department. The policy was instituted at the request of Orthodox women, apparently without any serious community objections.
But a recent anonymous complaint led the city’s Commission on Human Rights to notify the parks department that the policy violated the law. Then a new pool schedule was issued, with the women’s hours removed. That alarmed female swimmers, who alerted politicians, including the local assemblyman, Dov Hikind.
The change was swiftly undone. The department now says it is working with the commission to come up with a solution that is acceptable — and legal — but for now, the women’s hours will remain.
Which is unfortunate. The city’s human rights law is quite clear that public accommodations like a swimming pool cannot exclude people based on sex. It allows for exemptions “based on bona fide considerations of public policy,” but this case — with its strong odor of religious intrusion into a secular space — does not seem bona fide at all.
Right. Back to the eternal problem of fundamentalist religion–in this case Judaism–unconstitutionally thrusting itself into and taking over segments of our public lives.
If Orthodox Jews don’t permit their women (and hey Orthodox women: not for the first time do I tell you to get out of that suppressive cult) to share swimming pools with the rest of us multigender hoi polloi, let them build their own damn pools and stay out of ours instead of violating the First Amendment’s separation clause.
They could expand the mikvahs, right? Indeed, some of these mikvahs look very much like private swimming pools.
Another idea: I presume Muslim women also can’t swim in public pools with other genders. A google search tells me that they can–maybe–but must cover their bodies.
I’m not linking you to the strict (male) Islamic site I found answering this question because I do not want to get onto an intelligence watch list (or Trump campaign solicitation list).
And that site is so insanely offensive to me, a contemporary godless woman, I wouldn’t inflict it on any of you. You can thank me privately for my exquisite consideration of your mental health.
Here’s a bright idea: fundamentalist Islam and Judaism join together to build their own private fundamentalist pools exclusively for women? Love to see that.