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National looking at letting homosexuals in the BSA
I do suspect that if Dale had not been the touch point, another would have soon been found due to the beginning of the modern Gay political maneuvering.
I agree with you that if not Dale, something else would have become the issue. Though I don't think it was "modern Gay political maneuvering" that was the cause. It has more to do with the rise of the religious-right in the 1980s and the start of the "culture wars". There was a full court press on to weaken separation of church and state by the religious-right, and to partially "establish" their version of the christian faith (see the arguments around prayer in school as one example). Taking over a core American institution like the BSA was part of this process. And no, it wasn't some sort of grand conspiracy, it was just part of a large social movement in the US (a social movement that is still continuing today).
There was one major case involving a would-be assistant scoutmaster who was kicked out in 1980, about 10 years before the Dale case started. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curran_...uts_of_America. This was a case out of California. It was decided by the California Supreme Court in 1998, 2 or 3 years before Dale was decided. It WOULD have been the "big case" instead of Dale, if the Cal. Supreme Court had decided that the BSA was violating the state's anti-discrimination statute. They did not, and instead found that the BSA was not a "business" (and maybe not a "public accommodation" either, the article doesn't mention that but I would be surprised if it was never brought up.) That decision effectively made it impossible for the plaintiff to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, because the decisive issue was an issue of state law, not federal law. (That problem did not seem to faze a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Bush v. Gore, but that's another discussion.) The reason the Dale case became "the" case is that the New Jersey Supreme Court became the first state highest-court to rule that the BSA was violating a state anti-discrimination statute (based on their decision that the BSA was a "public accommodation.") That allowed the BSA to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court based on their argument that the NJ anti-discrimination statute (as interpreted by the NJ Supreme Court) violated the BSA's First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court bought that argument by a 5-4 vote.
None of this really changes the point made by Packsaddle and Rick, with which I totally agree. It just affects the timing a little. I believe that the BSA "started it", when they kicked these guys out.
The similarities to other prejudices that have declined in public is interesting. I remember other clubs and even churches which at one time openly discriminated on the basis of skin color as well as the social upheaval that followed Judge McMillan's ruling on busing. That was the school system that I was in at the time. And now we look back on those times and the people who were militantly opposed to school integration (and those who were white supremacists openly and proudly) now take some solace in pointing the finger at others, claiming they were forced into the fight, as if that justifies the awful hurt they inflicted needlessly on other people.
As Trevorum stated in another thread long ago, the times they are a changing, and the question of who 'started it' is really not relevant. The change is there regardless and I really do understand that some of us want to live in the past and fear the future. Sorry, change is inevitable.
Rick, if you click on the first reference in that article, it will take you to the decision itself, all 98 pages of it. I'm not going to read it. The first sentence of the decision says Curran's "application to become an assistant scoutmaster was rejected by defendant, a regional council of the Boy Scouts of America." I assume that "regional council" is what someone who doesn't know the structure of the BSA might call a "council", which is supported by the fact that the defendant in the case was the Mount Diablo Council. But the question of who first "blew the whistle" may or may not be answered further down in the 98 pages.
It was another newspaper article: The impetus for this meeting [with the Scout Executive of the local council] was a newspaper article printed in a local newspaper about gay youth. The article included a picture of Tim and his male date to his school prom.