Scouts-L Mail Archive for August of 1999: (no subject)
Tue, 10 Aug 1999 02:25:17 -0000
<Nathan Beauheim wrote>
If you don't want someone as a leader, there's a real simple way to do it:
You have your IH reject the application, and not put his/her signature on
it. And notice, there's no space for them to put a reason for rejection on
it. Why? Because they DON'T NEED A REASON!
Have we lost that right (yes, right) in NJ? No, I don't think so. What NJ
is saying (assuming it stands, a big assumption at this point IMHO), is that
COUNCIL (acting as National's agent) can't discriminate because of
>From where I'm sitting, what the New Jersey court is saying is that neither
the CO, the troop leadership, nor the council can discriminate because the
BSA evidently is a public accomodation and therefore incapable of
determining its own membership requirements. Apparently, the definition of
"public accomodation" is very different in New Jersey law than in
California, Kansas, Oregon, and Pennsylvania. While nothing has really been
lost as far as our rights are concerned, the New Jersey court has taken a
step toward limiting our implied right of free association.
<Joseph Alessi wrote>
If BSA's policy left it to the unit and CO, and the unit turned down Mr.
Dale, he could take the CO to court. He would present himself as a fine
leader, an eagle scout, well versed in outdoor activities, etc. He might
also compare himself to other leaders in the troop, and show where he was
better qualified. Since there is no limit on the number of adult leaders, I
believe that the CO would be ordered to accept him by the court.
If BSA's policy left it ENTIRELY up to the CO, there wouldn't have been a
court case in the first place. The overwhelming majority of CO's are
private, non-profit organizations (i.e. churches and community groups) who
enjoy to right to determine for themselves who can participate in their
programs. If the CO was taken to court, chances are the case would have been
thrown out. Only if the CO was a "public accomodation" (i.e. YMCA, school,
or community center), would a court case be successful. Even then, public
accomodation CO's wouldn't even think of limiting membership simply because
of the potential for litigation.
Ultimately, the question isn't about homosexuals or atheists. The question
facing the courts now is the organizational status of the BSA. Is it a
private membership organization, or a public accomodation. Is the BSA a
private organization like a church or the CYO? Is it a public accomodation
like the YMCA or the local community center.
Like many on this list, I don't necessarily agree with the BSA policy on
homosexuals, but I DO agree with the BSA's right to make such a policy as a
private organization. If the BSA is forced to change it's membership policy
by the courts, it opens the door for law suits against any organization
someone can't be a member of for whatever reason. It also adds fuel to the
other two-thirds of the 3G argument.
A. J. Mako, firstname.lastname@example.org , Scoutmaster Troop 381
Home of the Unofficial Win95 Boy Scout Desktop Theme,
Old Portage District, Great Trail Council, BSA
"I used to be an Eagle (C-7-97), but I'll always be an Eagle (1981)"