Skip to comments.Boy Scouts face setback in Supreme Court
Posted on 10/17/2006 7:11:14 AM PDT by presidio9
Six years after the Supreme Court ruled the Boy Scouts could ban gay leaders, the group is fighting and losing legal battles with state and local governments over its discriminatory policies.
The latest setback came Monday when the high court without comment refused to take a case out of Berkeley, Calif., in which a Scouts sailing group lost free use of a public marina because the Boy Scouts bar atheists and gays.
The action let stand a unanimous California Supreme Court ruling that the city of Berkeley may treat the Berkeley Sea Scouts differently from other nonprofit organizations because of the Scouts' membership policies.
Two years ago, the court similarly rejected a Boy Scouts appeal of a case from Connecticut, where officials dropped the group from a list of charities that receive donations from state employees through a payroll deduction plan.
And in Philadelphia, the city is threatening to evict a Boy Scout council from the group's publicly owned headquarters or make the group pay rent unless it changes its policy on gays.
On a separate matter, federal judges in two other court cases that are being appealed have ruled that government aid to the group is unconstitutional because the Boy Scouts of America requires members to swear an oath of duty to God.
Despite the string of legal setbacks, lawyers for the Scouts said they believe the Supreme Court ultimately will decide that governments are improperly denying benefits that they make available to similar organizations.
"The issue of governments seeking to punish organizations for exercising their First Amendment rights is a recurring one. There will be other opportunities for the Supreme Court to affirm First Amendment protections for organizations dealing with government agencies," George Davidson, the longtime attorney for the Scouts, said in a statement.
Duke University law professor Erwin Chemerinsky agreed that the justices probably have not had their last say on the Boy Scouts and may be waiting until lower courts disagree on the issue.
"This is about when governments can impose requirements for getting government benefits," Chemerinsky said.
In 2000, the court ruled that the Scouts have the right to ban openly homosexual scout leaders, a decision that rested on First Amendment rights.
"The Boy Scouts asserts that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the values it seeks to instill," then-Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote for the court in a 5-4 decision.
Even so, the California Supreme Court said in March that local governments are under no obligation to extend benefits to organizations that discriminate.
Berkeley, home of free speech protests since the 1960s, adopted a nondiscrimination policy on the use of its marina in 1997 and revoked the Sea Scouts' subsidy a year later.
The Sea Scouts are a branch of the Boy Scouts. They teach sailing, carpentry and plumbing. City officials had told the group that it could retain its berthing subsidy if it broke ties with the Boy Scouts or disavowed the policy against gays and atheists, but the Sea Scouts refused.
Eugene Evans, who leads the Sea Scouts, has been paying $500 a month to berth one boat at the Berkeley Marina. The group removed two other boats because it could not afford the rent. The group has about 40 members, down from as many as 100 before the subsidy was removed.
Berkeley had allowed the Scouts free use of the marina since the 1930s, according to Evans.
The Sea Scouts said they were singled out because Berkeley's elected officials disapprove of the Boy Scouts' membership policies.
The case is Evans v. City of Berkeley, 06-40.
Disgusting, how people hate the Boy Scouts so.
Maybe they should turn their energies against the terrorists, rather than this fine group which chooses to preserve American values.
Oops, I guess that's the problem . . .
you might find this thread interesting
That's a different story. Churches don't do that because it's against their own teachings, and the government can't pass laws that force Churches to violate their beliefs.
"I guess they lose their tax exempt status next."
That may come to pass. But in a battle between retaining tax exempt status, and standing by their beliefs, Churches should be happy to pay taxes.
So I (male) cannot be a girl scout leader?
Not that I want to, but it makes an excellent counterpoint. Do the girl scouts "discriminate"?
Would my 17 year old son be allowed to play on the High School girls volleyball team, since there isn't a boys volleyball team? Or does the school "discriminate"?
Would I be allowed to participate in a pro-choice rally with my strict (and vocal) pro-life opinions, or would I be arrested as a disruptor? Or do the infantciders "discriminate"?
Can I go to a mosque and praise Jesus? Or do the Muslims "discriminate"?
Why can't a responsible adult within the Sea Scouts 'make a donation' buy taking on the slip lease himself -- ie. keep the Sea Scouts name off the paperwork. Could the marina then keep the Scouts off the property? I doubt it.
Nothing like those great conservative Supreme Court justices.
As a private, member-only organization, you can demand to run your organization according to your own values, which is completely within their right, but you can't then turn around and demand the right to free use of publicly-funded facilities.
A few links of possible interest:
Legally 'Yes'. I think that the Intramural Sports programs at certain universities are required to allow male students in sports that have no male counterpart. The point is that most males do not seek to compete with women when it comes to athletic endeavors.
I work with a woman who's daughter is on her HS wrestling team. She's actually proud of the fact that her little emancipated princess is "undefeated" because no coach with any sense of decency will let a teenaged boy get in the ring with her. One kid even forfeited a 56-match win streak because of her.
"...I didn't have a ready reply..."
How about, "Well, that just means there's plenty for everyone else! Sign up for our mailing list and we'll keep you informed about our KY sales events."
Summary Breakdown of the 109th Congress Scouting Survey
Scout and leader 15/42/57
Grand total 52/209/261
Eagle Scouts and Special Recognitions
Eagle Scout 8/17/25
Distinguished Eagle Scout 7/4/11
Silver Beaver Award recipient 3/7/10
Silver Buffalo Award recipient 0/1/1
Grand total 18/29/47
Isn't the current policy of the Boy Scouts the results of them being sued way back when for not "discriminating" and allowing pedophiles to be leaders of Boy Scout troops? Note, I don't make a distinction between Homos and Heteros - there are far more Hetero pedophiles than Homos. When it comes to trying to protect children and promote Christian values: Damned if you do and Damned if you don't....
The Girl Scouts also have no problem with Lesbians being Scout leaders. Go figure.