Many conservatives foolishly believed that the Left’s attempts to destroy the Boy Scouts of America would slow down after the Supreme Court ruled in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000) that BSA does not have to admit homosexuals as members and is allowed to require members to pledge allegiance to God and country.
It would have been nice if this venerable institution which has been around since 1910 and is still esteemed by most Americans could have been left well enough alone by the Left.
You may have missed this last week from the San Diego Union-Tribune, but the liberal ACLU recently won a court battle barring the Boy Scouts from continuing to lease public land because they are a “religious institution” and such a lease would somehow violate the separation of church and state.
From the Union-Tribune report:
- The Boy Scouts lease of a Fiesta Island aquatics center on city-owned land is just as unconstitutional as its lease of public land in Balboa Park, a federal judge ruled yesterday.
U.S. District Judge Napoleon Jones Jr. said the lease of the half-acre aquatics center violates the constitutional separation of church and state because the Boy Scouts is a religious organization.
The same judge ruled in August that the Boy Scouts lease of Camp Balboa, where it has its regional headquarters, was unconstitutional because the Scouts require members to profess a belief in God.
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 has a son who wanted to join the Scouts. They argued that the leases of public land were unconstitutional because of the Scouts’ policies requiring a belief in God and prohibiting homosexuals from joining. […]
Judge Jones said the city had shown preferential treatment to the Boy Scouts ??¢â???¬ ¦quot; “an admittedly religious, albeit nonsectarian, and discriminatory organization” ??¢â???¬ ¦quot; because it had negotiated exclusively with the Scouts for the lease of the aquatics center. […]
Jordan Budd, the ACLU’s legal director in San Diego, said the Scouts could resolve the issue and stay on Fiesta Island and in Balboa Park if they changed their policies and didn’t discriminate against non-believers and homosexuals. […]
The U.S. Justice Department attempted to join the case on behalf of the Boy Scouts, but Judge Jones in March ruled that the department did not have a sufficient stake in the outcome of the case to merit getting involved.
What did the ACLU have to say? Here are portions of their press release:
- Addressing the last outstanding issues in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of exclusive preferential leases for the Boy Scouts, a federal district court has found that the lease for the Boy Scouts??¢â???¬â???¢ free use of aquatic parkland on City-owned Fiesta Island is unconstitutional.
“Today??¢â???¬â???¢s decision affirms the fundamental principle that government may not favor a discriminatory religious organization,” said Jordan Budd, Legal Director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties. “When government endorses a particular religious viewpoint, as the city plainly has done through its preferential treatment of the Boy Scouts, it undermines the values of tolerance and inclusiveness that are at the core of our constitutional system.” […]
The court said the city had violated the constitutional requirement of separation of church and state by granting these preferential and exclusive arrangements for use of public resources to the Boy Scouts, a self-described religious organization that discriminates on the basis of religious belief and sexual orientation.
“For four years our clients stood up to the city and to the Scouts because public parks should never be used for discrimination,” said Mark Danis, a partner with Morrison and Foerster. “Judge Jones correctly found that the city violated the separation of church and state by anointing a religious organization to lease Fiesta Island to the exclusion of all others.”
“Even the City has now done the right thing by settling this case and choosing to uphold its policies against discrimination and religious preference,” he added. “This has been a long road, but we are gratified that the city’s parks now are open to all San Diegans.”