Troiano, John (Troiano@First-Chair.COM)
Fri Feb 06 13:28:49 1998
I thought that this article from the Chicago Tribune might spark some
John J. Troiano
First Chair Technologies
773.235.0444 ext. 7614
SETTLEMENT OF ACLU LAWSUIT PUTS CITY, BOY SCOUTS ON SEPARATE PATHSBy
Terry WilsonTribune Staff WriterFebruary 5, 1998
The City of Chicago and the Boy Scouts of America officially parted
company Wednesday when the city signed an agreement in federal court
stating it will not renew its charter agreements with the organization.
Prompted by a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the
city, which had been a chartering entity for about 28 Explorer, Cub
Scout and Boy Scout groups, agreed to stop the arrangement before U.S.
District Judge Charles Kocoras.
"The city agreed to drop its sponsorship of all Scouting programs as
long as the Boy Scouts of America maintains policies that require a
religious element in programming and excludes members on the basis of
sexual orientation," said ACLU attorney Roger Leishman. "We're hopeful
that the Boy Scouts of America will change its policy and realize it
doesn't need to discriminate. If it continues, it cannot expect
The issue arose when Kevin Poloncarz, a University of Chicago law
student who is gay and agnostic, wanted to volunteer as an adult leader
of the city's Legal Explorer Post, which provided career-based
information to teens interested in studying law, Leishman said.
Poloncarz balked when he saw the registration form requiring he meet
leadership standards that included a declaration of religious principle
that discusses an "obligation to God," Leishman said.
A co-plaintiff, Rev. Eugene Winkler, was party to the lawsuit because he
believes the separation of church and state is hindered when the city
sponsors a group that endorses religion, Leishman said.
Lawyers from both sides reached an agreement and the city agreed to pay
$20,000 in court costs, Leishman said.
Neither party rushed the matter to court, a factor that allowed the
Scouting units to find new sponsorship elsewhere so they could continue
their programs, Leishman and city officials said.
"Most of the posts have moved to private sponsorship," said Rebecca
Fields of the Chicago Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.