California Boy Scout Cases
law4ever at JUNO.COM
Tue Mar 24 12:49:51 PST 1998
The exclusion is based on the portion of the Scout Oath wherein the Scout
pledges to be "morally straight". Much discussion in the Curran decision
regarding that particular issue!
Scouting is not a monolithic entity. The national organization leaves
such decisions very much to the local organizations. In Curran, the Mt.
Diablo Council was the deciding group which claimed advocacy of the
homosexual lifestyle was not "morally straight".
Timothy Curran had gone to his senior prom with a same sex date (why the
court found this particular fact necessary to bring up is beyond me), and
had become an activist for acceptance of the so-called "gay lifestyle" as
normal. The decision recounts the conversation which led to the lawsuit
wherein Curran was asked if he still advocated that lifestyle (presumably
this meant that if he was homosex but did no advocacy, he would be
eligible) and when he affirmed, then and only then was he refused a
Most notable was an early disclaimer in Curran wherein the court stated
it in no way was making a value judgment on the position of the parties.
What a bit of backpedaling that was. There was also a footnote regarding
the membership of one of the justices (the decision doesn't say, but it
was George, the author of the fatuous decision) in scouting leadership
and whether there was a conflict of interest.
On Tue, 24 Mar 1998 14:14:50 -0600 Andrew Koppelman <akoppelman at NWU.EDU>
>A question on this exclusion: does anyone know whether the Boy Scouts
>exclude only practicing homosexuals (as, say, the Roman Catholic
>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
>moral objection to homosexual conduct. In other words, someone who
>with the Boy Scouts that homosexual conduct should not be engaged in,
>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
>in the news reports, making the scouts' position seem more incoherent
>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
>>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
>>>Court came to the conclusion that the Boy Scouts of America is not a
>>>accommodation" or "business establishment." It upheld the right of
>>>Scouts, as I understand it, to exclude homosexuals and atheists from
>>>membership (?) (as opposed to leadership??). I understand that the
>>>turned on the court's interpretation of California civil rights law.
>>>The cases are Curran v. Mount Diablo Council of Boy Scouts of
>>>Randall v. Orange County Council, one brought by a homosexual, the
>>>I have all of this second-hand. If anyone knows the real scoop or
>>>of the holdings, please fill us in.
>>University of Texas Law School
>>727 E. Dean Keeton St.
>>Austin, TX 78705
>> 512-471-3275 (voice)
>> 512-471-6988 (fax)
>> dlaycock at mail.law.utexas.edu
>Assistant Professor of Law and Political Science
>Northwestern University School of Law
>357 East Chicago Avenue
>Chicago, IL 60611-3069
>akoppelman at nwu.edu
More information about the Religionlaw