Boy Scouts v. Dale

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In Boy Scouts v. Dale, 530 U.S. 640 (2000), a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court held that the Boy Scouts have a constitutional right (freedom of association) to prohibit homosexuals from serving as scout leaders. James Dale, the plaintiff, was an Eagle Scout. His membership in the Boy Scouts was terminated when the Monmouth Council (New Jersey) of the BSA became aware of Dale's sexual orientation.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist wrote the opinion for the Court. Justices John Paul Stevens (joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and David Souter) and Souter (joined by Justices Breyer and Ginsburg) wrote dissenting opinions.

Dale had complained that he was unaware of the anti-homosexuality policy of the Boy Scouts, although he concedes that he was careful to conceal his orientation when he was a Scout. A dozen years earlier, the Scouts had published:

a 1978 policy statement by the Boy Scouts' Executive Committee: "We do not believe that homosexuality and leadership in Scouting are appropriate. We will continue to select only those who in our judgment meet our standards and qualifications for leadership. [1]


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