NEW YORK -- Martha Burk believes it is "appalling'' that
women who fight for the United States in Iraq face discrimination
at home at private golf clubs like Augusta National.
"Broadcasting the Masters now and showcasing a club that
discriminates against women is an insult to the nearly quarter
million women in the U.S. armed forces,'' she said at a news
Burk, chairwoman of the National Council of Women's
Organizations, was invited by a half dozen City Council members and
representatives of civil rights groups denouncing CBS and the club
for its all-male membership.
Several council members introduced a resolution Wednesday
condemning Augusta National and asking CBS not to broadcast the
tournament. The resolution will not be voted on until next month.
The Masters, the year's first major tournament, will be held
April 10-13, and Burk has said she plans to protest in Augusta, Ga.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit on
her behalf to hold a protest at the club's front gates.
Burk said the club's all-male membership is an affront to women
in the U.S. armed forces, particularly those in Iraq.
"It's appalling that the women who are willing to lay down
their lives for democratic ideals should be shut out of this club.
... Democratic ideals do not include discrimination,'' she said.
Club spokesman Glenn Greenspan characterized Burk's remarks as
"Ms. Burk will say anything to get publicity,'' Greenspan said.
"But if she is invoking the troops to draw more attention to
herself, only three words apply -- shame on you.''
When asked before the news conference whether her message would
be lost because of the attention on Iraq, Burk said her position
would actually be strengthened.
"Women in the military know what it's like to fight for equal
opportunity,'' she said. "While I know that more important things
are on their minds, as more important things are on the mind of the
nation, including us, it is just part of a continuum of
Council member Gale Brewer held up a T-shirt with the CBS logo
that read "Continues Broadcasting Segregation.''
"CBS has refused to cancel its coverage of the Masters even
though it is held at a venue that discriminates against half the
population,'' she said.
CBS had no comment.
The proposed City Council resolution "condemns the gender
segregation'' and urges all broadcast media, particularly CBS, to
"refrain from airing the Masters as long as it is held at Augusta
or any other venue that promotes segregation and discrimination.''
Burk also said there would be a protest outside CBS on Saturday.