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California Senate Slams Boy Scouts' Anti -Gay Policy

by Mark Worrall Newscenter
San Francisco Bureau

Posted: August 31 - 2003 12:01 a.m. ET

(Sacramento - California) California's senate has passed a bill condemning the Boy Scouts of America for its policy of banning
gays and atheists.

The concurrent senate and house legislation was sponsored by Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg (D -Los Angeles). While it praises the Boy Scouts for their service and role in helping youth it calls on the BSA to allow all qualified applicants to join the
organization -without discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or religious belief.

The bill passed 22 - 15 - mainly along party lines in the Democratic controlled chamber. The Assembly passed the bill in
April by a 43 - 2 vote.

Goldberg called the legislation a first step toward "getting the Boy Scouts into the 21st Century." She said she hopes it will
convince the organization to change its rules.

"I hope we put pressure on them to make this open to all kids. Anybody who knows me and my family knows we love scouting. This is out of concern for (Scouts)."

But State Sen. Rico Oller is upset with what he sees as an attack on a private organization - in a manner which is one form of
discrimination replacing another.

"Our moral values in Boy Scouts are being treated as if they were
inferior values" Oller said. "Gay and lesbian groups are saying that we - with traditional Christian values - have to accept people who are avowedly opposed to those views. The Boy Scouts should be able to be the Boy Scouts - an organization based on faith - God and duty. You can't have it both ways."

In 2000 the US Supreme Court ruled 5 -4 to uphold the Scouts' right to bar gay troop leaders because it is a private

Following lobbying by gay rights groups organizations like United Way have pulled financial support and some municipalities have refused to allow the Scouts to use public facilities to hold meetings.

© 2003

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