Resistance/backlash/response to Supreme Court opinions
conlawprof at YAHOO.COM
Wed Aug 30 09:07:19 PDT 2000
--- Bryan Wildenthal <bryanw at TJSL.EDU> wrote:
> Separately, on the Boy Scouts issue, as a gay man
> and gay rights activist
> who (rather unorthodoxly, wearing my con law prof
> hat) agrees with the
> Court's recent decision in Dale as a matter of First
> Amendment law, I am
> very pleased with the debate Dale has produced
> (leaving aside the First
> Amendment merits of the decision, which have been
> ably and exhaustively
> debated on this list). If Dale had gone the other
> way, the debate would
> have been about the poor Boy Scouts as victims of a
> repressive PC orthodoxy.
> Instead, having been legally "liberated" by the
> decision, the Boy Scouts now
> face the uncomfortable task of defending why they
> choose to embrace the
> cruel, discriminatory policy they do, and face the
> loss of much private
> support. The debate is now about the policy, not
> about the Boy Scouts'
> "First Amendment rights." Bigots often like to
> divert attention from the
> merits and morality of their views by changing the
> subject to their "First
> Amendment rights," an understandable tactic when
> their "rights" are (however
> debatably) at issue, but a diversion that happily
> disappears when a decision
> like Dale is handed down.
I agree with Bryan that Dale was correctly decided.
But I am not buying the spin coming from gay rights
advocates that this great victory for freedom of
expression is really a great loss for the Boy Scouts
because it exposes them as a bunch of immoral bigots.
Just the opposite is closer to the truth.
Certainly, there is a small, but powerful, minority
who hold the absurd position that Mr. Dale is a
wonderful role model for young boys and BSA is an
evil, bigoted organization because it believes in
teaching boys to be good husbands to their *wives* and
good fathers of their children. But most people don't
share the extremism of Prof. Wildenthal. Most people
are delighted to trust their sons to an organization
that believes in traditional sexual morality and I
dare say most parents would definitely *not* want
their sons to be influenced by someone like Mr. Dale.
Sure, the real bigots will do everything they can to
exclude the Boy Scouts from public schools and parks
in places like San Francisco, and the real bigots will
bring pressure to bear on the United Way and corporate
charities to treat BSA as an outcast organization. But
BSA will be stronger than ever as a result of its
willingness to go to the wall for sexual morality and
the best interests of the boys it was created to
We do indeed have a culture war in modern America, and
a fundamental disagreement over what is good and what
is evil. But when extremists label the Boy Scouts as
"evil" and Mr. Dale as a "good role model" for young
boys, their true character becomes apparent to all men
and women of good will. The Boy Scouts will thrive
because they stood up for what is right and what is
true. --Rick Duncan
Rick Duncan (conlawprof at yahoo.com)
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