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"Morally Straight"

In the Scout Oath, a Scout promises to be �morally straight,� and in the Scout Law he promises to be �clean.�

The Boy Scout Handbook (11th ed.) explains �morally straight� as �To be a person of strong character, your relationships with others should be honest and open. You should respect and defend the rights of all people. Be clean in your speech and actions, and remain faithful in your religious beliefs. The values you practice as a Scout will help you shape a life of virtue and self-reliance.�

The Handbook explains �clean� as �A Scout keeps his body and mind fit and clean. He chooses the company of those who live by high standards. He helps keep his home and community clean.�


Policies

Volunteer Adult Leadership
Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. Scouting�s position with respect to homosexual conduct accords with the moral positions of many millions of Americans and with religious denominations to which a majority of Americans belong. Because of these views, Boy Scouts of America believes that a known or avowed homosexual is not an appropriate role model of the Scout Oath and Law for adolescent boys.

Employment
With respect to positions limited to professional Scouters or, because of their close relationship to the mission of Scouting, positions limited to registered members of the Boy Scouts of America, acceptance of the Declaration of Religious Principle, the Scout Oath, and the Scout Law is required. Accordingly, in the exercise of its constitutional right to bring the values of Scouting to youth members, Boy Scouts of America will not employ atheists, agnostics, known or avowed homosexuals, or others as professional Scouters or in other capacities in which such employment would tend to interfere with its mission of reinforcing the values of the Scout Oath and the Scout Law in young people.

Youth Leadership
Boy Scouts of America believes that homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the obligations in the Scout Oath and Scout Law to be morally straight and clean in thought, word, and deed. The conduct of youth members must be in compliance with the Scout Oath and Law, and membership in Boy Scouts of America is contingent upon the willingness to accept Scouting�s values and beliefs. Most boys join Scouting when they are 10 or 11 years old. As they continue in the program, all Scouts are expected to take leadership positions. In the unlikely event that an older boy were to hold himself out as homosexual, he would not be able to continue in a youth leadership position.


Cases

Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S.640(2000)
An Assistant Scoutmaster who was an avowed homosexual and gay rights activist sued after his leadership was revoked, alleging that Boy Scouts violated the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in places of public accommodation. The New Jersey Superior Court, Chancery Division granted summary judgment in favor of Boy Scouts, but the Appellate Division and thereafter the New Jersey Supreme Court held that Boy Scouts had acted in violation of the State�s public accommodations law. The United States Supreme Court reversed the New Jersey Supreme Court and held that a state may not, through its nondiscrimination statutes, prohibit the Boy Scouts from adhering to a moral viewpoint and expressing that viewpoint in internal leadership policy and that the New Jersey Supreme Court�s decision violated Boy Scouts� First Amendment right of freedom of association. Briefs of the Parties . Briefs of Boy Scouts� Amici Curiae

Curran v. Mount Diablo Council of Boy Scouts of America, 952 P.2d 218 (Cal. 1998)
An open homosexual sued Mount Diablo Council under California�s Unruh Civil Rights Act, challenging the council�s refusal to approve him as an adult leader. After trial, the Los Angeles County Superior Court ruled in favor of the Boy Scout council. On appeal, the California Supreme Court granted review and held in a unanimous opinion that Boy Scouts is not a �business establishment� for purposes of the Unruh Civil Rights Act�s requirement of equal rights to public accommodations.

Boy Scouts of America v. District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights, 809 A.2d 1192 (D.C. 2002)
Open homosexuals filed complaints in the D.C. Commission alleging that they were denied privileges of a place of public accommodation when they were rejected as volunteer Boy Scout leaders. On June 20, 2001, a year after the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Dale, the District of Columbia Commission on Human Rights refused to apply Dale and instead held that Boy Scouts of America and the National Capital Area Council violated the District of Columbia Human Rights Act of 1977. The District of Columbia Court of Appeals reversed, holding that to force Boy Scouts to appoint open homosexuals as Scout leaders would violate the Boy Scouts� First Amendment freedom of expressive association.

Chicago Area Council of Boy Scouts of America v. City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations, 748 N.E. 2d 759 (Ill. App. Ct. 2001)
An open homosexual filed a claim under Chicago�s human rights ordinance alleging that he was denied employment with the local Boy Scouts council because of his open homosexuality. Ultimately, an Illinois appellate court held that the Boy Scouts were allowed to require job applicants to observe the Scout Oath and Law when they were seeking to serve as professionals acting in representative capacities for Scouting. The court remanded for a determination as to whether the employment tester was seeking a nonrepresentative position from which he was improperly excluded, and the Commission determined that he had not been seeking such a position.

Copyright 2006 on behalf of the Boy Scouts of America