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The Los Angeles City Council Tuesday Voted 11-0 to Cut the City's Ties with the Boy Scouts of America



11/29/00
from the Advocate magazine advocate.com

Los Angeles cuts ties with Boy Scouts


The Los Angeles city council Tuesday voted 11-0 to cut the city's ties with the Boy Scouts of America, saying the group's exclusion of gay people and atheists is discriminatory. The vote follows similar moves by municipalities, police departments, and groups across the country to show displeasure at a Supreme Court decision last June upholding the Boy Scouts' right to exclude gay people. The court, by a 5-4 vote, said the BSA has the right to set its own moral code and espouse its own viewpoint. But city council members said Los Angeles law prevents relationships with organizations that discriminate. "We don't have a choice, legally. Both the spirit and the content of existing city law are very clear: The city shouldn't participate in a discriminatory practice or policy," councilman Mike Feuer said, adding, "Nobody, including the Boy Scouts...has articulated what the difference is between discriminating on the basis of race, on the one hand, which they would agree ought never happen, and discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation." A BSA spokesman declined to comment on the vote Tuesday. "It came so quick, we're just
looking at our options as to just exactly what we are facing here," Joey Robinson said. Under terms of the measure, the Los Angeles Police Department will be asked to dismantle its Explorers unit, a Boy Scouts-affiliated police cadet training program for young people, within 90 days and create an alternative, said Laura Esquivel, assistant to openly lesbian councilwoman Jackie Goldberg. All other city departments will be audited to determine whether other contractual relationships exist with Boy
Scouts affiliates, and all city contracts will be examined to ensure they contain nondiscriminatory clauses and are in compliance with city code, Esquivel said. In addition, the city's department of parks and recreation will, in the future, charge the Boy Scouts a fee to use its facilities for camping and other activities, Esquivel said.



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