Appeals court says U.S. Boy Scouts can lease public land

For urban camping
Camp Balboa, San Diego

Camp Balboa, San Diego

The following comes from a December 20 Reuters story.

The Boy Scouts of America can lease public land from the City of San Diego for a cheap rate despite the fact the scouts prohibit atheists, agnostics and homosexuals from becoming members, a U.S. appeals court ruled.

In an opinion on Thursday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said two leases do not violate the constitutional separation of church and state.

The Boy Scouts policy denying membership to gay scouts and scout leaders has prompted protests and lawsuits. In 2000 the organization won a 5-4 U.S. Supreme Court ruling allowing the organization to ban gays whose conduct, the Boy Scouts argued, violated its values. The Scouts reaffirmed the policy earlier this year.

In San Diego, an organization chartered by the Boy Scouts leases portions of two popular city parks to provide children with an urban camping experience. In exchange for spending money developing facilities on the land, the Scouts pay virtually no rent.

A group of plaintiffs who are either lesbians or agnostics sued, saying they would use the land leased by the scouts but for the organization’s discriminatory policies.

A lower court judge found the leases unconstitutional, but on Thursday a unanimous three judge 9th Circuit panel reversed. The city has leased 123 parcels to nonprofit agencies, the overwhelming majority of which are secular in nature, the court wrote, and 96 of those leases require no payment of rent….

The case in the 9th Circuit is Barnes-Wallace vs. Boy Scouts of America, 04-56167.

To read entire story, click  here.

 

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Comments

  1. St. Christopher says:

    This is an obviously correct decision (even for the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, once the most reversed appellate court by the SCOTUS). Now, there must be efforts made to attack the plaintiffs in such litigation. They misuse and corrupt the judicial decision with suit upon suit, most without merit, hoping that they will find some dopey judge to support them (and sometimes they succeed). Suits making such plaintiffs pay are very important, as would be actions against unscrupulous lawyers. Difficult to do now, but the ability to do so must be sought by requests to legislators. Good going, BSA!

  2. i’m not worried about the boy scouts deciding who’s allowed in their group and who’s not…that’s their right.

    howedver, i am rather concerned about their history of child abuse, which we have been read GOBS about lately…can only hope they have cleaned up their act!

    Dec. 26 — (CBS/AP) LOS ANGELES – About 1,200 previously unpublished files that were kept by the Boy Scouts of America on volunteers and employees expelled for suspected sexual abuse were released on Tuesday.

    March 25 — PORTLAND, Ore. (CBS/AP) The Boy Scouts of America had the information, had the knowledge, and had the ability to make a difference about sexual abuse by Scout leaders, but instead, a psychologist testified Wednesday, the organization showed reckless indifference to protecting young boys when it kept secret two decades worth of confidential files on suspected child molesters. The testimony is part of a $14 million lawsuit against the organization.Continue »

    • Max,
      The Boy Scouts knew that the information would be released. The Boy Scouts done many things to insure that abuse does not happen. They do much more than most organizations but because of their beleifs they are singled out like our own beloved Church for persecution.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      max with a small m,

      Read you own above statement, they were EXPELLED for suspected sexual abuse!

      Had the bishops done likewise, the Church would not be in the sad situation it now finds itself in!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher, Scouter ret’d

  3. Maryanne Leonard says:

    Quick, the smelling salts! I’ve heard rumors that a modicum of sanity is to be found in at least one American jurisdiction!

  4. Laurette Elsberry says:

    A short reprieve for the Boy Scouts.

    • Kenneth M. Fisher says:

      Laurette,

      Once the Obamanation finishes stacking the so called Supreme Court, I am afraid you will be right!

      God bless, yours in Their Hearts,
      Kenneth M. Fisher, Scouter ret’d

  5. Forgive my ignorance – but what is the “constitutional separation of church and state” ? –
    Or is this peculiar to the CA Constitution?

    The US Constitution Amendment I states: ” Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; “

  6. BOY SCOUTS PLAY HARD BALL WITH ABUSE VICTIMS

    “The day their dad died, the perpetrator began to befriend the boys,” Kelly Clark said. “Then the Boy Scouts turn around and file papers saying Mom was the problem?”

    DATABASE: Tracking decades of allegations

    The Scouts’ legal tactics in the ongoing lawsuit are part of an aggressive approach that the youth group has long used in defending itself in child sex abuse cases, some victims, their families and lawyers say.

    Since 1,247 confidential files were unsealed in October detailing allegations of sexual abuse in its ranks, Scouting has taken a more conciliatory stance.

    “We have heard from victims of abuse and are doing our very best to respond to each person with our utmost care and sensitivity,” Scouting spokesman Deron Smith said in October, offering an apology, counseling and other assistance.

    DOCUMENTS: A paper trail of abuse

    But in the years before the files’ release, some who alleged abuse say, their accusations were met with denial, blame and legal hardball.

    “The knives are out and you’d better get your knife out because if you don’t, they will tear you to shreds,” said Timothy Hale, who represents a Santa Barbara County teenager who was abused in 2007 at the age of 13 by volunteer Scout leader Al Steven Stein.

    Stein had a history of inappropriate behavior with children but a local Scout official tried to keep the boy’s mother from reporting the abuse to police, according to the teenager’s lawsuit. She did anyway, and Stein later pleaded no contest to felony child endangerment.

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