The Elks organization voted to remain all-male but approved a proposal that could make it easier for nonwhite men to join the fraternal order. About 5,000 Elks from across the nation voted against admitting women in a show of hands at a closed session of the group's 125th national convention in New Orleans. Donald D. Dapelo of Coalinga, Calif., the newly installed grand exalted ruler, said the proposal "was overwhelmingly defeated." He said sexism was not behind the rejection and that "Elks are interested in protecting the rights of women to have their own organization just like we have." Approved was a proposal to eliminate an Elks' policy that allowed any three members of an Elks lodge to reject a prospective member. The rule had been criticized as making it difficult for blacks to join the Elks. Under the new policy, a two-thirds majority of a lodge could approve a member.