A move is under way in the California court system to ban judges from belonging to the Boys Scouts of America because the youth organization discriminates against homosexuals.
A proposed rule change by the Supreme Court Advisory Committee on The Code of Judicial Ethics would make the BSA no longer “excepted from the category of organizations that practice ‘invidious discrimination’ on the basis of sexual orientation.”
Last May, the BSA’s National Council voted to allow acknowledged homosexuals to be in the program but not in leadership. It’s the ban on “gay” leaders that has prompted the California courts’ action.
In a public comment on the proposal, the Life Legal Defense Foundation said the committee is ignoring the fact “that the change also encompasses other youth organizations whose membership is limited on the basis of gender, e.g., the Girl Scouts, as well as the military, which continues to practice ‘discrimination’ on the bases of gender.”
“Perhaps this is not an unintended consequence and the committee indeed means to prohibit membership by judges in organizations like the Girl Scouts and military reserve, though there is no indication of such result in the invitation,” said the letter, signed by LLDF legal director Catherine Short.
“Or perhaps the committee believes that such discrimination by the Girl Scouts and the military is not ‘invidious,’ as opposed to the ‘invidious discrimination’ practice by the BSA in excluding those of openly homosexual orientation from adult leadership positions.”
Whatever the intent, the LLDF urges the courts to reject the rule change.
Short wrote: “One might disagree with its judgments on particular matters, including its decision regarding the participation or non-participation of boys and men with homosexual orientation, but to call such decisions ‘arbitrary’ drains all meaning out of Canon 2C, rendering the Canon itself arbitrary in its application.”
Short contended the BSA “does not ‘exclude’ homosexuals from membership.”
“As the invitation itself explains, it prohibits them only from serving as troop leaders, i.e., a specialized function within the BSA structure,” she said. “Yet we know, because the committee tells us, that the BSA’s policy falls within the meaning of ‘excluding from membership’ a particular class of people, even though this reading is not found on the face of the Canon and its commentary.”
Short argued that according to the committee’s reasoning,”the military too ‘excludes from membership’ persons on the basis of gender.”
“Since the military excludes women from [unlimited] membership, then the proposed amendment will preclude judges from holding positions as military reservist, unless these exclusions are deemed not to be ‘arbitrary.’ Who will decide this?”
The letter said it appears the court system’s officials will “arbitrarily” decide “which organizations are acting arbitrarily and which are not.”
“This proposed amendment has as its overtly stated purpose the branding of the BSA as an organization whose members must be assumed to be biased and thus unfit for the bench,” Short wrote.
Actually, she said, it would instead tell the American public “that judges are being told by the California Supreme Court what to think, whom they may associate with, and what are permissible opinions to hold, and that only those who toe the line will be allowed to sit on the bench.”
The restrictions create “a climate of intolerance” and the public perception that members should not expect impartiality, Short wrote.
WND reported in January that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, the man who led the U.S. Defense Department through its transition to allowing openly acknowledged homosexuals in the ranks, soon is to take over the BSA.
Gates is to begin a two-year term as BSA president next month.
The BSA began allowing openly “gay” scouts for the first time Jan. 1 after a controversial vote last May by its National Council.
Gates, as defense secretary, backed Barack Obama’s withdrawal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Congress repealed the ban in 2010, and it was lifted in 2011.
In June 2011, when the “Don’t Ask” policy change was implemented, Gates declared all military personnel must accept the new rule.
“The reality is that you don’t all agree with each other on your politics, you don’t agree with each other on your religion, you don’t agree with each other on a lot of things,” he said. “But you still serve together. And you work together. And you look out for each other. And that’s all that matters.”
Trail Life USA
In response to the Scouts rule-change, a Christian-based scouting organization, Trail Life USA, was launched last September.
Led by John Stemberger, an Eagle Scout who founded a coalition that opposed the BSA policy change, OnMyHonor.net, the new youth organization provides an outdoor-oriented, character-development, life-skills and leadership program based on the group’s biblical worldview.
The new organization honors traditional marriage and clearly defines the Boy Scout vows of “duty to God” and living lives that are “morally straight,” “clean” and “reverent.”
However, according to Stemberger, the new group also will “honor the BSA and respect the contributions they have made.”
The new BSA policy, devised after an extensive survey of members, is a revision of a proposal issued in January 2013 that would have allowed local troops to decide whether or not to accept openly homosexual members and leaders. The approved BSA policy bars adults who openly declare they are homosexual from serving as Boy Scout leaders.
“Opening the Boy Scouts to boys who openly proclaim being sexually attracted to other boys and/or openly identify themselves as ‘gay’ will inevitably create an increase of boy-on-boy sexual contact,” said Stemberger in an open letter to the voting Scout leaders.
The policy change was made despite a thorough two-year study released in July 2012 by an 11-member committee of professional scout executives and adult volunteers who unanimously concluded the policy of not allowing open homosexuals should be maintained.
In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the right of the Scout organization to exclude homosexuals, because the behavior violated the core values of the private organization.