'Religious' Boy Scouts
Being Pushed Out of Park
NewsMax.comThe Boy Scouts’ policies barring
homosexuals and requiring members to express a belief in God has
resulted in a U.S. District Court judge ruling that the venerable
organization’s long-standing lease of public land in San Diego,
California’s Balboa Park violates constitutional separation of
church and state, according to a report in the San Diego Union.
Saturday, Aug. 2,
U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones Jr. found by "overwhelming and
uncontradicted evidence" that the Boy Scouts are a religious
organization and received preferential treatment by the city council
as to its perennial lease of the 18-acre camp at the park.
"The city handpicked as the preferred lessee an organization that
describes religious belief and practice as fundamental to the
services it provides," Jones wrote.
The city and the Boy Scouts say other groups are allowed to use
the camp, which has been used by the Scouts since 1920 and under a
formal lease with the city since 1957.
Jordan Budd, legal director for the ACLU's San Diego office, has
argued that the most reasonable remedy in the controversial case
would be for the city to cancel its lease with the organization – or
the Scouts could change their policies.
"We believe it is long past time for the City Council to end its
affiliation with this discriminatory organization and to keep open
this public park land for the use of all citizens of San Diego on a
fair and equal basis and not just those citizens preferred by the
Boy Scouts," he said.
Jones' ruling comes three years after the U.S. Supreme Court
ruled that the Boy Scouts have a constitutionally protected right of
"expressive association," allowing the organization to exclude gay
Jesse Choper, a professor with UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of
Law, remarked that Jones' decision demonstrates that organizations
like the Boy Scouts are "entitled to express their views and
associate in any way they wish, but they're not entitled to
The American Civil Liberties Union sued the city and the Boy
Scouts of America over the lease in August 2000 on behalf of a
lesbian couple and an agnostic couple, each couple with a son.
It is unclear what the immediate impact of the ruling would be
because the city and the Scouts could appeal, reported the Union.
The issue is made more complex by the Scouts’ multi-million
dollar improvements made over the years.
According to the report, the final fate of all will be outlined
in a final court order, which has yet to be formally published.
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