Bench Memos

Law & the Courts

Phase Two of Boy Scouts’ Cave-In

Two years ago, I explained that the Boy Scouts’ new policy of allowing youth members, but not adult leaders, who are “open or avowed homosexuals” would undermine the legal basis for their victory in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale (2000). I predicted that that the ill-considered new policy “instead would operate as the way-station to a wholesale repeal, the first step in a very quick two-step surrender.”

Well, surprise, surprise: According to this article, Robert Gates, the national president of the Boy Scouts (and former Secretary of Defense), said in a speech today that the Boy Scouts’ “longstanding ban on participation by openly gay adults is no longer sustainable,” and he “is urging change in order to avoid potentially destructive legal battles.”

Gates “raised the possibility of revising the policy at some point soon so that local Scout organizations could decide on their own whether to allow gays as leaders.” So maybe the two-step surrender I predicted will instead be a three-step surrender. 

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