THURSDAY
April 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 82
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.

SUPREME COURT CONSIDERS BOY SCOUTS HOMOSEXUAL BAN

    WASHINGTON, DC (CWNews.com) - The US Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments in case determining whether the Boy Scouts of America can exclude homosexuals from volunteer leadership positions under the US Constitutions free speech and free assembly provisions.

    "This case is about the freedom of a voluntary organization to choose its own members," Boy Scout attorney George A. Davidson told the justices. He said scouting is "closely identified with traditional moral values." A volunteer assistant scoutmaster, James Dale, was dismissed from the BSA in 1990 after he revealed his homosexuality and joined a gay activist group.

    The New Jersey Supreme Court, citing state law banning discrimination in public accommodations based on sexual orientation, ruled last year the BSA's ban on homosexuals was illegal. But Davidson told the US Supreme Court today the state law violated the US Constitution.

    Several justices appeared to agree with Davidson. Must a Catholic organization admit Jews, Justice Stephen Breyer asked. "That seems odd," he said.

    The Boy Scouts contend that as a private, noncommercial organization, it has a constitutional right to select its own membership. The group says homosexuality is at odds with its oath and law, which require scouts and their adult leaders to be "morally straight" and "clean." The New Jersey court had rejected the argument saying it would allow "the expulsion of an individual solely because of his status as a homosexual -- an act of discrimination unprotected by the First Amendment freedom of speech."

    The federal court is expected to issue a ruling at the end of June.

          

April 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 83
NEWS & VIEWS

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