The United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, in which the BSA is attempting to ban gays.
This action not only stands on dubious legal footing, but it runs counter to the very reason young men join the Boy Scouts.
The BSA wishes to overturn the New Jersey Supreme Court’s ruling declaring the organization a public accommodation, much like buses and theaters. The state court ruling recognizes the universality of the Boy Scouts and reflects the best of what scouting has to offer: a chance to make friends, participate in healthy activities and grow as a young man. These are the goals and activities central to the mission of the Boy Scouts. The sexuality of a scout or scoutmaster has no place in the context of the Boy Scouts.
History clearly shows the world moving in a more egalitarian direction. Equal rights for every conceivable group is an issue at the forefront of the American collective consciousness. The law of both the courts and social pressure prohibit discrimination in any arena on the basis of race, sex, religion, creed and national origin. Some states, including New Jersey, have laws opposing discrimination against gays and lesbians. No one can be justified in acting counter to this trend. People should be judged not by any identifying characteristic or stereotype but, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, by the content of their character.
The Boy Scouts should embrace diversity and allow gays to participate and hold leadership positions. If the Boy Scouts prevented James Dale from taking part because of his race, this case would never have gone to court, because race discrimination is clearly wrong. How is the current situation any different? The most diverse collection of justices to ever sit on the Supreme Court must recognize the simple fact that discrimination in any form is wrong.