Boy Scouts in Court

July 5, 2000

Last week the Supreme Court handed down its decision in what may have been the most important case they considered this term. That is quite a statement given the fact that the high court also considered cases involving abortion, prayer, criminal rights, and use of student fees in college. Nevertheless, I contend that the case of Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale was the most important case this term.

If the Boy Scouts had lost, so would tens of thousands of other private, voluntary associations that organize themselves on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation. If the principle put forward by the New Jersey Supreme Court had been accepted by the court, all distinctions and membership limitations would be eventually eliminated.

In the past, the Boy Scouts have been able to fend off what many call the "Three-G cases." These are lawsuits brought by gays, girls, and the godless (atheists). In most cases, the courts in various states found in favor of the Boy Scouts, but not in New Jersey.

The New Jersey court argued that the Boy Scouts wasnít the kind of "intimate association" protected by the First Amendment even though Scout troops usually number about 15-20. The court also argued that the Scout Lawís exhortation to be clean and morally straight doesnít apply to homosexuality. Fortunately the court didnít accept that argument.

But even though the Boy Scouts won the case, they may eventually lose in the court of public opinion. Many believe homosexual lobbyists will seek to marginalize the Boy Scouts and pressure the United Way to drop their support for the Boy Scouts. They may have won the court case but they still may have to pay a heavy price for standing up for morality.

Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.