CALIF COURT CASE 1/
Dave Hultberg (dave.hultberg@PAONLINE.COM)
Sat, 2 Apr 1994 17:56:22 -0500
* Forwarded by DAVE HULTBERG from the rec.scouting conference.
* Original from NEWS to ALL on 04-02-94.
Sb: P: Curran Decision
Fm: Gary Wilson/NJ 70550,2402
I found the following from the LA Times News Service today.
Court: Boy Scouts Have Right to Bar Gay Men as Leaders (Los Angeles)
LOS ANGELES Ruling on an issue closely watched by gay-rights
and their opponents, a California appeals court has concluded that the Boy
Scouts of America has the right to bar gay men from becoming scout leaders.
In a 2-1 decision issued Tuesday, the Second Appellate District of the
California Court of Appeal found that a state law prohibiting job
discrimination against gay men and lesbians does not apply to the Boy
and does not prevent the organization from excluding gays from the ranks of
Forcing the scouts to accept openly gay leaders would violate the
organization's First Amendment rights of association, the judges said.
The ``Boy Scouts' exclusion of an adult leader who openly models or
advocates homosexual behavior is no more or less rational than its
of a leader who modeled or advocated any other type of behavior that it
to discourage,'' the judges wrote in a lengthy opinion.
``Unless scouting can determine its own standards of morality, it will
disabled as a teacher of moral views on any subject,'' continued the
issued in Los Angeles.
The ruling came in a 13-year-old lawsuit filed by Timothy Curran, who
the time wanted to become an assistant scoutmaster for a northern
Curran had been a Boy Scout for several years, attaining the rank of
Scout, before he took a male date to his senior prom and was quoted in the
local news media as proud to be gay. A few months later he expressed
in becoming an assistant scoutmaster but was rejected because he is gay.
Curran's suit is one of several cases around the country challenging
Scouts' exclusion of gay scout masters. The lawsuits contend that the Boy
Scouts are unconstitutionally discriminating against gays, while Boy Scouts
officials say they are a private group and have the right to exclude
homosexuals, whom they consider at odds with the organization's basic moral
Curran's attorney, Jon Davidson of the American Civil Liberties Union,
called the opinion ``extremely distressing.'' He said the ACLU would seek a
rehearing before the appeals court, and if necessary, take the case to the
California Supreme Court.
``The majority opinion,'' Davidson said, ``rules that the Boy Scouts
numerous other charitable organizations are exempt from California's
anti-discrimination laws and are free to exclude whomever they want, on any
basis. This overturns decades of state law to the contrary. I cannot
that the court would have reached this result if Tim had been excluded by
Boy Scouts because of his race or religious beliefs.''
Davidson pointed out that just last month a state appeals panel in a
different district ruled that the Boy Scouts could not exclude two boys who
not believe in God. In that opinion, issued in an Orange County case, the
judges found that the non-profit Boy Scouts were a business and thus bound
state anti-discrimination statutes, specifically the Unruh Civil Rights
But in the Curran opinion, the judges concluded otherwise. ``To extend
Unruh Act to scouting councils would transform numerous charitable
organizations that are fundamentally different from business establishments
and commercial or business clubs, such as the Rotary and Jaycees.
``Many charitable organizations,'' the opinion stated, ``direct their
services to a distinct religious, cultural, gender, ethnic or age group in
way that would be unacceptable in a business, but is neither offensive or
improper in the case of a charity seeking to accomplish its particular
In a similar court case now on trial in San Diego, El Cajon police
Chuck Merino has sued the Boy Scouts over his abrupt ouster in 1992 as a
leader, after the scouts learned of his homosexuality.
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