One vote in Scotland was closely drawn and stirred emotions on both sides of the issue, while another was a runaway victory for progress.
On Thursday, the Scots took to the polls to vote on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom. At stake was the possibility of abandoning the British pound and governing themselves as an independent nation for the first time in three centuries. By today in Edinburgh, it had become clear that voters rejected the referendum on independence.
But earlier on Thursday, more than three quarters of the members of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews held another historic vote, overwhelmingly electing to allow female members for the first time since the club was established in 1754. That vote passed with 85 percent of the members voting to open the club to both genders.
“I can confirm that The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews is now a mixed membership club,” R&A secretary Peter Dawson said through a statement. “The membership has also acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months.
“This is a very important and positive day in the history of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club,” Dawson’s statement said. “The R&A has served the sport of golf well for 260 years and I am confident that the club will continue to do so in future with the support of all its members, both women and men.”
Response was quick and positive. Within minutes of the announcement, the LPGA put out a statement that read: “The LPGA is happy to hear that the members of the Royal & Ancient Golf Club in St. Andrews have voted to include female members. This decision is certainly a step in the right direction and one that better captures the current diversity and inclusiveness of our great game.”
Catriona Matthew, a resident of Edinburgh and one of the most successful Scots in women’s golf having won the 2009 Women’s British Open, said, “I’m obviously delighted with the news. I think they had to take in ladies. Just for the position they have in golf, they had to be seen to have equality.”