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Posted 24 Feb 2001   For week ended July 02, 2000
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church
Sent on Mormon-News: 29Jun00

Summarized by Kent Larsen

Supreme Court Ruling Keeps LDS Scouting Intact
Associated Press 28Jun00 N1
By Laurie Asseo: Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON, DC -- In a 5-4 decision the US Supreme Court ruled today that the Boy Scouts of America can exclude homosexuals from serving as troop leaders, in effect preserving the LDS Church's relationship with Scouting. The Church, which had supported the Boy Scouts of America in the lawsuit, had told the Court that it would withdraw from the Scouting program if homosexual leaders were permitted, taking 400,000 scouts with it.

The Court decided that the Boy Scouts have a right of "expressive association" under the US Constitution's First Amendment that keeps the government from forcing them to accept gay troop leaders. "The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks to instill,'' Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court. He said that forcing the BSA to have gay scoutmasters would "send a message, both to the youth members and the world, that the Boy Scouts accepts homosexual conduct as a legitimate form of behavior,'' the chief justice said.

Scouting officials were pleased with the decision. Scouting spokesman Gregg Shields said, "It's going to allow us to continue our mission of providing character-building programs for youth.'' And the LDS Church express relief also, saying "The church applauds today's decision by the Supreme Court affirming the constitutional right of the Boy Scouts of America as a private association to determine its own standards for membership and selection of leaders."

But James Dale, the former Eagle scout who filed the lawsuit, expressed disappointment. "I'm definitely saddened by the decision. People don't join the Boy Scouts because they're anti-gay. People join the Boy Scouts because they want acceptance, they want community.''

Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote the decision for the court, supported by Justices Sandra Day O'Connor, Antonin Scalia, Anthony M. Kennedy and Clarence Thomas. Dissenting from the opinion were Justices John Paul Stevens, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer. Both Justices Stevens and Souter wrote dissenting opinions.

See also:

Scouts get OK to bar gay leaders Deseret News 28Jun00 N1,1249,175015719,00.html U.S. Supreme Court overturns N.J. ruling Associated Press and Douglas D. Palmer


BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA v. DALE US Supreme Court 28Jun00 N1


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