California may bar judges from Boy Scouts

BY Advocate.com Editors

December 21 2002 12:00 AM ET

The California supreme court is considering prohibiting state judges from being members of the Boy Scouts of America because of the group's refusal to admit gays, the chief justice announced Thursday. The move comes months after San Francisco's judges and others cut ties with the organization for the same reason. The San Francisco Bar Association and other groups recently asked the high court to revamp current rules. California judicial canons, controlled by the state supreme court, already demand that judges divest themselves from groups that discriminate against women and minorities. Rules adopted seven years ago also forbid membership in organizations that discriminate against lesbians and gays but allow "nonprofit youth organizations," an exception for the Boy Scouts.

"The court had an extensive discussion about this matter and has decided to take up the matter at a future administrative conference after it undertakes a further study of the proposals," Chief Justice Ronald M. George said in a brief statement. George did not indicate when the justices would reach a decision. Two years ago the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts' policy against gay people. The BSA argued that its code, requiring members to be "morally straight" and "clean," excluded homosexuals. The court said the group was entitled to define its own principles.

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