Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Scouts get what they wanted (sort of)

The Boy Scout movement began in 1908 as an organization to teach boys skills and self-reliance.  Distinctly military in form, but without the fighting practice, the Boy Scouts place much importance in honor and duty.   And that includes a required belief in revelation.

In the Supreme Court's 2000 decision in Boy Scouts et al vs Dale, the Court ruled that the Boy Scouts could discriminate against gays, atheists, etc., because it is a private organization.  So the Boy Scouts can be a religious organization and the matter is settled.  But what about their quasi-public status?  Here in San Diego that manifests in a $1-a-year lease they have held on 16 acres in Balboa Park since 1957 (recently raised to an annual $2,500).  But since the Boy Scouts are now a private religious organization, and one that practices discrimination, a lawsuit challenged their special status.  The 9th Circuit Court ruled that the special lease violates the law, and now the US Supreme Court has refused to hear the appeal, so the ruling stands. 

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