Boy Scouts reaffirm exclusion of gay members

    After a two-year review of the practice of banning gays, the Boy Scouts of America declared Tuesday that it is “the best policy for the Boy Scouts.”

    The N.J. man who went all the way to the Supreme Court to challenge being dropped as a Boy Scout leader because he’s gay calls the Scouts’ reaffirmation of a ban of gay members disappointing, but not surprising.

    “You know, I said this 12 years ago, that they’re behind the times. Now they’re even more behind the times and it’s very sad that they’re doing this damage to young people,” says James Dale, a former Eagle Scout.

    Dale was a Rutgers student and Eagle Scout in 1990 when an article mentioning his gay activism on campus appeared in a local paper. He was expelled by the Scouts, where he had been serving as an adult leader.

    The resulting legal battle ended in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2000, holding that private groups are not held to the same anti-discrimination rules as businesses and government institutions and so can choose their own members.

    Though no longer active, Dale still follows developments of the Boy Scouts’ policy.

    The Boy Scouts said in a statement Tuesday that parents “value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time.”

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.