Boy Scouts appeals to U.S. Supreme Court
December 30 2003 1:00 AM ET
The Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the exclusion of Boy Scout councils from a Connecticut state employee charitable fund-raising campaign. The state of Connecticut excluded the Boy Scouts from the charity because of the organization's policy barring openly gay members, and earlier this year the 2nd U.S. circuit court of appeals upheld the decision. While recognizing that the BSA exclusionary policy was "constitutionally protected" under the Supreme Court's previous ruling in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, the circuit court upheld the Connecticut decision on the grounds that the state did not "require" the Boy Scouts to change its views but merely required the Boy Scouts to "pay a price" for "exercising its First Amendment rights."
The case seeks to define whether the government can exclude an otherwise eligible organization from participating in a government program because of membership policies. There are 150 charitable campaigns run by states, public universities, and local governments nationwide, and more than 140,000 charities, including the Boy Scouts, participate.