SAN FRANCISCO (CWN) - The Boy Scouts of America was in California's Supreme Court on Monday to defend itself against charges that the organization violated state law by refusing leadership positions and membership to homosexuals or atheists.

      The high court is being asked by pro-homosexual and atheist groups to determine whether voluntary non-profit associations must comply with the same anti-discrimination law as businesses. The Boy Scouts require that all members and leaders profess a belief in God, but not in a particular religion. The group also forbids homosexual scoutmasters both as a safety measure for the boys and on moral grounds.

      If the supreme court determines that the Scouts are no a business, the justices must then decide if its membership policies are protected under the First Amendment right of free association. A ruling is expected within 90 days.

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January 6, 1998 volume 9, no. 4          DAILY CATHOLIC