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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.

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Campus Christian Group Sues To Exclude Gays

by The Associated Press
Posted: October 23, 2004 12:01 am ET

(San Francisco, California) A Christian group sued the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in federal court here Friday for not recognizing it as an official campus organization. The Christian Legal Society says it should get campus funding and other benefits, but does not have to open its membership to gays, lesbians and nonbelievers - all requirements from the San Francisco law school. "The First Amendment provides a right of expressive association," said Tim Tracey, an attorney for the society. "We want to associate with people that affirm a certain number of our beliefs." Tracey said the group has a right to exclude people it does not wish to associate with, as does the Boy Scouts of America. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Boys Scouts and its affiliates can prohibit gay boys from joining scout troops and gay men from becoming scout leaders. The high court said the constitution gave scouts the right to choose its members. The 30-member Hastings group was told in October that it was being denied recognition, including university funding and benefits, because of its policy of exclusion. Neither the university's dean, spokeswoman nor its legal counsel returned calls seeking comment. But in an Oct. 1 letter to the group, Elise K. Traynum, the university's general counsel, said "the college is prohibited from supporting any program or activity that would violate the civil rights of any (of) our students." The group has about 140 chapters at universities nationwide, most allowing the exclusionary policy, Tracey said. The group also is in court with Washburn University in Topeka, Kan., fighting to
uphold its policy there, Tracey said. The society does allow membership to former homosexuals so long as they have "repented that conduct," according to the lawsuit. Still, whether the Boy Scouts case would apply to the
Hastings religious group in California is unclear. The California Supreme Court is reviewing the city of Berkeley's decision to discontinue free berthing at a public marina for a group affiliated with the Boy Scouts of
America. The scouts are fighting a 1998 city decision that made their nonprofit group ineligible for free docking because of its membership and leadership policies against gays. Other non-profits are permitted to berth at the Berkeley marina without charge. After being forced to pay $516 per month for its boats, the Sea Scouts sued the city, but the lower courts ruled against them. The case is pending before California's seven justices. In their appeal, the scouts maintain that if Berkeley is going to provide free berthing to nonprofits, it cannot deny free access to nonprofits whose views run counter to those of City Hall. In dismissing that argument, a state appeals court ruled that Berkeley's actions did not violate the group's rights because the scouts remained free to
discriminate against gays.




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