Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale No. 99-699 Argued April 26, 200- Decided June 28, 2000 In order to explain this court case and why it is so important, it is necessary to look at the history behind it. In July of 1990 James Dale an assistant scoutmaster, and Boy Scout since age eight, was informed that his adult membership to the Boy Scouts of America had been revoked. He was working with Troop 73 in New Jersey in addition to attending Rutgers University.
This revocation was a direct result of his involvement with the Rutgers University Lesbian/ Gay alliance, after Dale’s words of support and representation for this group were published in a newspaper in early June of 1990. The case as it was argued had one main concern. Lawyers for the Scouts told the court that the Boy Scouts, as a private organization like churches or other religious groups, has the constitutional protection to dictate the standards for its leaders and members.
But the lawyer for James Dale, the former Scout leader, says the Boy Scouts is a public accommodation group with large support from governmental agencies, and as such cannot discriminate on the basis of a person’s sexual orientation. “When the Boy Scouts says ‘We are open to all, all means all, and all means both gay and straight,” said Dale’s lawyer, Evan Wolfson. Dale sued, and after a lengthy legal battle the New Jersey Supreme Court agreed that the Boy Scouts had violated the state’s anti-discrimination law.
After this judgment, the Boy Scouts of America decided to take this case to the US Supreme court on grounds of the majority placed the Scouts’ First Amendment right to express their “moral” rejection of homosexuality over New Jersey’s Law Against Discrimination. The majority opinion concluded that forcing the Scouts to accept a gay leader placed an unconstitutional burden on the organization’s “expressive purpose.” In its arguments, the Boy Scouts of America claimed that being…