scouts-l Mail Archive for July of 2000: Re: Dale vs. BSA
Bruce E. Cobern (bec@PIPELINE.COM
Mon Jul 03 2000 - 17:40:59 CDT
> Behalf Of Darryl Hammill
> Sent: Monday, July 03, 2000 4:29 PM
> The next battle front will be fought on Units who meet in public places -
> such as Parks and Rec builds in City or State Parks. Or if they meet in
> other Public Buildings. This will just force those Units to move
> to private locations of course - so the general public will loose in the
> long run.
I don't see that happening, and I'm not sure it is legal for it to happen.
We will almost certainly lose public SPONSORSHIP of units as more and more
entities that are, by law, prohibited from discriminating realize that the
BSA is no longer an organization they can legally use as part of their
youth program. That is what happened in Chicago.
However, I don't believe we have a problem USING public facilities, as long
as we use them on the same basis as other groups. For example, in many
public schools in NYC it costs $XX to keep the building open in the evening
for a meeting, ANY meeting. As long as the Troop pays the same $XX as
other groups I believe the courts, including SCOTUS, have ruled that public
schools, etc. cannot exclude discriminatory groups from using public
facilities on a level basis.
> Where is the positive press in favor of BSA?
Well, let's see. We won a narrow victory that wasn't even really about our
right to an exclusionary membership policy but on the point that admitting
homosexuals would impact our "expressive statement." The victory, in
essence, allows us to continue to carry out a discriminatory membership
which excludes a group of the population that has been obtaining an
increasing degree of legitimacy. And you expected positive press? Even if
you support the exclusionary policy, would you really think that most of
the press would be positive? There was press that indicated that the
decision was probably correct and valuable to other organizations, but I
wouldn't expect lots of press supporting the POLICY, even the majority
opinion worked hard to make it clear that their decision should not be
construed as an endorsement of the policy.
I would venture that if the question put to the court was SHOULD the BSA
exclude homosexuals the BSA would have lost, probably 9-0, although Justice
Scalia might still have voted in favor, making it 8-1. It should be noted
that the only Eagle Scout on the Court, Justice Breyer, voted with the
dissenters. The other three former Scouts, JJ. Rehnquist, Scalia, and
Kennedy voted with the majority.
Bruce E. Cobern