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
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.
Scouts get OK to bar gay leaders
Deseret News 28Jun00 N1
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