You may recall the landmark case of Boy Scouts of America et al. v. Dale, from 2000, in which the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the BSA, being a private organization, has the right to discriminate as it wishes, when it comes to its membership and its volunteer staff. Since that decision was handed down, the Scouts have indeed continued their policy of discriminating against gays and atheists. Since that decision, also, the Boy Scouts have steadily lost many special accommodations and benefits they once enjoyed. Now they’ve lost another.
Following on the loss of their use of their Philadelphia for a dollar a year (when market value is $200,000/year) and the loss of free berthing of Sea Scouts’ boats in Berkeley, California, the Explorer Scouts in Los Angeles will no longer be a part of the police department’s youth outreach program. “The LAPD is committed to a better program and we can do that without having discrimination,” said Police Commissioner Alan Skobin.
“The Boy Scouts are clear,” noted Police Commissioner Robert Salzman who is openly gay and who helped design the new program, “that they discriminate based on sexual orientation, gender identity and religion, and the result of that is I could not be active on the Boy Scouts.” By excluding a goodly portion of the population, the Scouts are missing out on having some of our best citizens as members and volunteers.
According to Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts, “we can agree to disagree on a particular issue and still come together for the common good.” The problem is that Mr. Mazzuca wants to come together for the common good of some of the people, not all. The government should support groups that provide a service to the community; the problem is that the Scouts don’t do that. The Scouts are stuck in the last century and the kids of this century are increasingly finding alternatives. In Los Angeles, so is the Police Department.