Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Boy Scout attorney places group at same level as KKK

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Associate Justice Marvin Baxter asked the Scouts' attorney whether the Sea Scouts' logic would allow groups like the Ku Klux Klan to demand public funding. "It's unfortunate, but it's correct," answered Jonathan Gordon.
The above quote is from an article on the San Francisco Chronicle concerning the California Supreme Court case involving the City of Berkeley and the Boy Scouts of America. The Sea Scouts (a division of the Boy Scouts of America) is given a subsidy in the marina owned by the city. When the city told the Sea Scouts that they would have to either disavow the discriminatory membership policies of the Scouts or break away from the group (due to the city's policy of offering subsidies only to non-profit groups without discriminatory membership policies), the Sea Scouts refused and were then denied the marina subsidy. It seems as though the Boy Scouts are arguing that they can do anything they want, discriminate against any one they choose and still think that they can receive public funding. No group which has discriminatory membership policies should be allowed to benefit from public funds, part of which undoubtedly come from gay people, as well as atheists. If gays or atheists wanted to get involved in the Sea Scouts, who operate partly through public funding, they wouldn't be able to. I think it is absolutely appalling that the Boy Scouts would put themselves in the same category as the KKK. I also think it shows something very important about the group:
  • They know they are discriminatory, prejudiced, biased and bigoted.
  • They know that their membership policies are that way.
  • They are not even trying to hide those facts and they are openly discriminating without regret.
People can scream free assembly and association all they want. If the Boy Scouts want to continue to discriminate against portions of the American population, then let them do it... as long as they do it on their own time, their own money and their own property. It is not the government's place to fund, encourage, support or enable discrimination. If the government supports the Boy Scouts then the government goes back on everything for which America stands. Related Article: "Boy Scouts Say They're Like KKK Youth" 365gay.com News Technorati Tags: , , , , , , ,

14 Comments:

Sorry, that's just how the courts have ruled. Don't like it? Then make your own group that discriminates against Boy Scouts, and you'll be entitled to just as much money as they are.

I'm not a libertarian in that I don't ceaselessly bemoan the redistribution of wealth as a whole, but I think that as long as we're handing out taxpayer money, we might as well do it in the most equitable way possible.
The Courts aren't always right when they make decisions. Our Court System is a human institution subject to human prejudice and bias.

BSA v. Dale (2000) will end up going down in history, as Dred Scott v. Sanford (1857) has, as one of the Court's biggest mistakes and blows to the very ideals which make America what it is.
Do you disagree with the Dale decision because of your own personal views, or because you have a problem with the right to expressive association?
Just as those who disagreed with the Dred Scott v. Sanford decision did so because they saw it as a government endorsement and enabling of a societal wrong, I disagree with the Dale decision because I see it as a government endorsement of discrimination and prejudice, both of which I consider to be societal wrongs.

The People of this nation have charged our government with the grand and sometimes uneasy responsibility of protecting and safegaurding our rights. Yes, the Boy Scouts do have their own rights, but those can only be extended so far before they are allowed to use those rights to willfuly inflict harm on others.

By creating membership policies (while excepting public funds and benefits) which seek only to prohibit the participation of a certain portion of the population (who have also helped to contribute to the public funds and benefits which the BSA receives), the Boy Scouts of America have wrongly, and perhaps immorally, used their right to freedom of association to hurt others.

No person or group should be given the right and/or government endorsement to discriminate against another person or group. In my opinion as someone who has experienced first hand the implications and consequences of the Boy Scouts of America's membership policies as well as being subject to numerous unjust and discriminatory laws, court decisions and political and religious beliefs and ideologies which put LGBT people in a state comparable to second-class citizenship, I believe that discrimination and prejudice against LGBT persons run, in all cases, completely and utterly contrary to the principals and ideals which were used in founding our nation and which continued to be used in order to guide our nation and our people in establishing a "more perfect union".

While many Americans may presently agree with the decision as handed down in the Dale case, no doubt exists in my mind that one day the American People will be wise enough to realize that the Court's decision was wrong, much in the same way that the overwhelming majority (if not the entirety) of the American People would now agree that the Dred Scott decision was wrong.

Just as our history shows how certain events unfolded eventually reversing a Court decision which accomplished nothing but the government endorsement of one of the most evil forms of discrimination and prejudice, I believe that the ideals and principals of our struggle for freedom and equality will one day reverse the decisions, laws, beliefs and ideologies which unjustly and inhumanely discriminate against LGBT citizens.
That's not what I asked, but you answered my question anyway - the question, more simply, was whether your personal experiences are or are not clouding your judgement about Dale as it applies to the nation as a whole.

Dale was not a decision against the LGBT community and did not legitimize descrimination, nor did the BSA display malicious intent against Dale as you suggest.

I don't feel, personally, and you don't have to agree, that the founding fathers included the right to peaceably assemble for no reason. No, this doesn't give anyone a right to maliciously discriminate against others, but I don't want anyone telling me that I must collaborate with those whom I have fundamental disagreements with.

This view of it makes the funding part, as I previously stated, only equitable if distributed with complete neutrality. If an organization is established for the good of a large segment of the population, regardless of the fact that they may have fundamental disagreements with other segments and prevent their membership, as long as their are alternative organizations that serve the needs of these other segments, public funding should be provided equally.

Here's my personal example: I don't fundamentally agree with the Safe Zone program established by UNCG's Student Health Center. I pay $102 per semester in Student Health Fees just like everyone else, and undoubtedly a portion of this money goes to the Safe Zone program. While I know that this program does me absolutely no good and my conscience disagrees with its existence, you don't see me demanding a refund for the portion of my fees that funds it. I know that despite the fact that I may not agree with an individual program, having a variety of programs for all segments of the student population is most beneficial for everyone.

I really don't feel that comparing this to Dred Scott is fair in the least.... that was a terrible decision in hindsight, but I feel that the court has learned from earlier mistakes.
How was Dale not a decision against the LGBT community? The decision itself upheld a membership policy which very openly and unapologetically (since Feb. 2002) prohibits gay youth and adults from joining the organization (whose honorary head is President Bush, by the way).

And, how exactly can you justify the Boy Scouts kicking out youth members and discriminating against them as not being "malicious dicrimination"?
Because the court wasn't targeting gays in its decision... this could have been any group, say, a Jewish organization that didn't want Muslims in its leadership, it doesn't matter.

The ruling didn't say, "we support the right to discriminate against gays", it said "we don't think laws restricting association are constitutional".

And no, I don't feel the BSA was maliciously removing people, I think they were justified to say that it just wasn't something that followed the beliefs they espouse. Would you let someone like Fred Phelps join PRIDE? Of course not, because his close-mindedness is something the group takes a strong stance against. We've got an independent on the CR exec board... would we be justified in removing them from office now that we know their affiliation? Yes, because we're a group with a very specific intent, and they don't fit it.
The representative of the BSA did not say they were on the same level, just that they both enjoyed the same rights under law. You are twisting their intent. Don't become like those you try to fight.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/12/2006 11:10:00 AM  
Tell that to the Supreme Court...

I suggest you re-read Dale and Southworth.
But it wasn't some other group It was a group with a membership policy discriminating against gay youth and adults.

And, yes, the Boy Scouts are removing people maliciously. Interpretations of the "Scout Law" and "Scout Oath" differ widely, not only within the US, but throughout the entire International Scouting Movement. Discrimination is in no way allowed by the Scout Oath or Law. The Boy Scouts of America break their own rules and ideals when discriminating against gay youth members.

How can the Boy Scouts be trustworthy if they turn around kick out a youth member of five or more years just because they find out he is gay? How is the BSA being loyal to that youth? How can they expect the youth to be trustworthy or honest if they are to hide and/or lie about a part of themselves? How are fellow Scouts and Scout leaders being friendly by harassing gay youth or those thought to be gay and then kicking them out. How is that helpful, courteous or kind? And by breaking those rules the Boy Scouts undoubtedly go against their law to be obedient (to their own laws and as well as others). By discriminating against youth the BSA also goes against their law of being reverent... God would not advocate discrimination (I firmly believe that).

I don't think you and I will ever come to some type of compromise on this issue, Ryan. One reason being because that while you view the Dale decision strictly in the terms of what the written decision was, I view the case on the merits of its implications and consequences for those whom the BSA's policy affects.
I'll concede that the Boy Scouts may have been violating internal doctrine in this policy, but I simply cannot accept the view that the Supreme Court acted improperly in this instance. Maybe it's because I've been watching too much of the Alito hearings this week, but I view this case as a constitutional challenge to a PUBLIC LAW, not an attack by the court on any individual or group.

Ahh, well, at least this has fixed my view that there's no intelligent dems to argue with at this school
The BSA has the right to associate as it wishes as a private organization and have its own membership policy. To put them on the same level as the KKK is reaching and just plain silly. You hurt your arguments saying things like that. If you don't like the belief system of the BSA don't join it.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/12/2006 07:16:00 PM  
To Anonymous: Ummm... too bad I was like 9 or 10 when I first joined the Boy Scouts and before I even "came out" of the closet or had even heard anything about the BSA not accepting gays (not like I would have even made the connection that young anyway).

It isn't about "not joining the Boy Scouts". It is about youth who join as small children and grow up in the organization only to find out later that after years of hard work and devotion they mean nothing to the group after being kicked to the curb and being told "You are not wanted here."

And this one is to Ryan: It isn't that there aren't any intelligent Dems to argue with... btw my views on the BSA have nothing to do with my party affiliation... I would continue the debate with you, but you know as well as I do that no one will ever win and all we will do is end up getting either upset at each other or just in the end wasting our time.

And... I thought I would never see the day when a conservative Republican (who is somewhat defending the BSA) would actually do what you did: "I'll concede that the Boy Scouts may have been violating internal doctrine in this policy..." I'm glad you get at least one of my arguments. My position is not based entirely in the Constitution or laws of the nation, a large part of my position on the BSA is based on the values, character, honor and service the BSA taught me. They should be thanking me... I'm proof that they actually teach people something about being not only a good citizen but an active and involved citizen (no matter what issue you support or what side you're on).
If you come to believe you don't like the belief system of a group you are in, then get out. Part of the BSA philosophy is its stand on this issue. If you disagree then don't be a part of it.
posted by Anonymous Anonymous at 1/13/2006 09:01:00 PM