California Boy Scout Cases
akoppelman at NWU.EDU
Tue Mar 24 14:14:50 PST 1998
A question on this exclusion: does anyone know whether the Boy Scouts
exclude only practicing homosexuals (as, say, the Roman Catholic clergy
does) or all who admit to experiencing homosexual desire (as the U.S.
military does)? In other words, is the exclusion based on conduct or
status? Some of the news reports I've seen seem to characterize the
exclusion as status-based, yet also report that the exclusion reflects a
moral objection to homosexual conduct. In other words, someone who agrees
with the Boy Scouts that homosexual conduct should not be engaged in, and
who himself does not engage in that conduct, could be expelled if he
acknowledges that he experiences homosexual desire. According to what
moral view is such an expulsion appropriate? Something is probably garbled
in the news reports, making the scouts' position seem more incoherent than
it really is. Could someone enlighten me (off list, please)?
At 01:01 PM 3/24/98 -0600, you wrote:
> There is a long story in this morning's New York Times, and this
>summary is consistent with that story.
>At 11:36 AM 3/24/98 -0500, you wrote:
>>I have heard that yesterday in two related cases, the California Supreme
>>Court came to the conclusion that the Boy Scouts of America is not a "public
>>accommodation" or "business establishment." It upheld the right of the
>>Scouts, as I understand it, to exclude homosexuals and atheists from
>>membership (?) (as opposed to leadership??). I understand that the case
>>turned on the court's interpretation of California civil rights law.
>>The cases are Curran v. Mount Diablo Council of Boy Scouts of America and
>>Randall v. Orange County Council, one brought by a homosexual, the other by
>>I have all of this second-hand. If anyone knows the real scoop or the meat
>>of the holdings, please fill us in.
>University of Texas Law School
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> dlaycock at mail.law.utexas.edu
Assistant Professor of Law and Political Science
Northwestern University School of Law
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Chicago, IL 60611-3069
akoppelman at nwu.edu
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