Supreme Court to Hear Homosexual Boy Scout Case

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - The US Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear the case of a homosexual Boy Scout leader from New Jersey who was expelled from the scouting organization in 1990 after his election to the co-presidency of a homosexual group based at Rutgers University.

After his expulsion, James Dale filed a lawsuit in 1992. Under a recently passed New Jersey law that protects the rights of homosexuals, Dale accused the Boy Scouts of America of discriminating against him because of his sexual orientation. In 1995, a New Jersey court ruled against Dale, a decision that was eventually overturned by the New Jersey Supreme Court. According to the state's high court, the Boy Scouts are a public accommodation to which anti-discrimination laws apply.

In previous interviews, including a 1992 sit-down with the New York Times, Daley told the newspaper that, as a student in a New Jersey military high school, "I remember hoping to God that I wouldn't be wasn't part of my big picture."

Dale told a Newark, NJ newspaper that his attendance at a 1990 conference of homosexual teenagers led to his decision to go public with his homosexuality. That interview led the Monmouth, NJ Council of the Boy Scouts to decide to revoke his membership.

Dale said that, when he asked the Council for an explanation, he was informed by letter that he had been expelled because of the "standards for leadership established by the Boy Scouts of America, which specifically forbid membership to homosexuals."

Dale joined the Cub Scouts at age eight and the Boys Scouts when he was 11. By 13, the youngster was a member of the Order of the Arrow and at 17, earned the rank of Eagle Scout. By age 18, Dale had become an assistant scoutmaster. Dale is now 29, lives in New York City and serves as advertising director for a magazine oriented toward people who are HIV-positive.

Gregg Shields, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts national office, said homosexuality is antithetical to the group's oath, which requires members to be "morally straight."

According to Shields, the "morally straight" code of conduct policy remains in place, having withstood numerous court challenges. "We've always taught traditional family values. That goes back to our founding in 1910. An avowed homosexual would not be a role model for those values."

However, Attorney Evan Wilson, who will argue Dale's case before the nation's highest court, said the Boy Scouts are not free to discriminate against any young boy or young man because of their sexual orientation.