Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor
From Fox News:
Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.
Scouting for All is a 100% Volunteer 501-(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. Every dollar donated goes toward our education and advocacy programs, and is tax deductible.
Pool and Geller vs Boy Scouts of America
The DC Court of Appeals announced there decision in our Boy Scout discrimination case on Nov 7. We lost. They
reversed the decision of the DC Human Rights Commission which had ordered the Boy Scouts to reinstate Michael Gellar
and I. It was a big disappointment after 10 years of hard legal work and waiting. After a week of legal and scientific
analysis, I can say dispassionately, "It sucks."
The court said it felt constrained by the Dale Supreme Court decision of 2000. In other words, they felt like
their hands were tied. The decision is pretty dry. They quoted extensively from the Dale decision. By omission
they said two important things. The court never said it agreed with the Supreme Court. Two, they never said discrimination
against gays was legal. They made an exception for the BSA. If your interested the decision canbe read at: http://www.dcbar.org/dcca/pdf/01-AA-925.pdf
The Supreme Court accepted the Boy Scouts argument that they were fundamentally organized to exclude gay scouts
and leaders. Homosexual conduct was not "morally straight" according to the Scout Oath and homosexuals
were unclean according to the Scout Law. I wish that our case had reached the Supreme Court first. We had evidence
and witnesses that said the boy scout policy was incoherent and conflicted. Not at all like the solid front that
the BSA presented in the Dale case. We also
had better lawyers.
I don't know if we will appeal to the Supreme Court. We are going to have some people who have gone to the supreme
court read the decision.
I am glad to know there are organizations like SMYAL in DC (where I volunteered for three years) where gay youth
are excepted and treated as human beings. But I feel sorry for gay youth in small towns across America where the
Boy Scouts are the only major youth organization.
I've appended the Washington Post article on the event to the end of this email.
Rejection of Gay Scout Leaders Is Upheld D.C. Appeals Court Overturns Ruling by Rights Panel Ordering Reinstatement
By Arthur Santana Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 8, 2002;
The Boy Scouts of America did not act illegally [wrongfully] in rejecting two gay men as scout leaders, a D.C.
appellate court ruled yesterday, overturninga ruling issued last year by the D.C. Commission on Human Rights ordering
that the men be reinstated.
Besides losing their bid to return to scouting, Michael S. Geller and Roland D. Pool will not be able to collect
the $50,000 each they were awarded by the commission in damages from the Boy Scouts and National Capital Area Council.
The D.C. Court of Appeals found that the commission's ruling was flawed because of a June 2000 Supreme Court ruling
declaring that the Boy Scouts of America was within its rights when the organization expelled another adult scout
leader because he is gay.
The Supreme Court overruled the New Jersey Supreme Court in ruling 5 to 4 that the Boy Scouts had a First Amendment
right to "expressive association "that would be violated if it was forced to admit a gay man, James Dale,
as an assistant scoutmaster. But one year later, the D.C. commission reliedon the D.C. Human Rights Act of 1977
and found that Geller and Pool were illegally subjected by the Boy Scouts to "humiliation, embarrassment andindignity."
In yesterday's ruling, Appellate Judges Stephen H. Glickman, Michael W. Farrell and Inez Smith Reid said they were
compelled to abide by the Supreme Court decision because they could find no significant difference between the
two cases. The commission contended that Dale was a public gay activist but that Gellerand Pool gave no indication
they would advocate homosexuality as Boy Scoutleaders. As a result, the commission declared last year, "the
District's interest in eradicating
discrimination outweighs the Boy Scouts' right of expression."
But the appellate court disagreed, saying Geller and Pool had indeed been vocal about their homosexuality.
George A. Davidson, a New York-based lawyer who represented the Boy Scouts, said he was pleased with the court's
The Boy Scout code mandates that scouts must be "morally straight," and Davidson said that "homosexual
conduct is not morally straight." Dale, Geller and Pool did not belong in leadership roles in the Boy Scouts
because they would likely "advocate a lifestyle contrary to the dictates of the scout oath,"he said.
Geller, 40, who lives in Washington, maintained that the appellate court "misread the whole thing." In
12 years as a scout leader, he said, he never shared his homosexuality with
"It's a bitter disappointment after 10 years of fighting this," Geller said.
Pool, 41, who now resides in New Mexico, also took issue with the court's determination that he and Geller were
vocal about their homosexuality.
"We never went around carrying a flag that we had this case against the BoyScouts, and other than being
involved in many community gay organizations, that's about as public as we were," Pool said.
Cornelius Alexander, the chief hearing examiner for the D.C. Commission on Human Rights, expressed disappointment
with the court decision. Merril Hirsh,the lawyer who represented Pool and Geller, declined to say yesterday whether
he will seek another review of the case.
Geller was an adult leader of his troop in Oswego, N.Y., before moving to Washington. His membership was revoked
in 1992 after he wrote a letter to the Boy Scouts in response to a Washington Post article that quoted the National
Capital Area Council's top official as saying that gay men were inappropriate role models. Pool, a Louisiana native
and former computer specialist and geologist at the Smithsonian Institution, was rejected by the scouts after he
indicatedthat he was gay on an
application to be a scout unit commissioner.
"It feels like I lost my best friend," Pool said yesterday. "I feel like it was one of the most
important organizations influencing me as I grew up. I gave all that up to stand up for what I thought was right,
and now it looks like I will have given that up for life."