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Boy Scouts’ suit in Fla. seeks equal treatment in school policy

WASHINGTON (BP)–The Boy Scouts of America have filed suit against South Florida’s Broward County School Board, saying the board acted illegally when it evicted the Scouts from school property, according to the Internet news site CNSNews.com.

The school board said the Scouts’ ban on homosexuals as scoutmasters violated a school board policy that outlaws discrimination based on sex, race, religion or “sexual orientation,” and it planned to evict over 50 Boy Scout and Cub packs from school grounds as of Dec. 17.

But the Scouts’ South Florida Council asked the U.S. District Court in Miami on Dec. 4 to stop the eviction, saying the school board’s anti-discrimination policy is not being applied to church groups in a similar position as the Scouts.

The district discriminated against the Scouts’ exercise of free speech and equal access to public facilities, and illegally sought to single them out for exclusion, the Scouts said.

The Supreme Court ruled in June that the Scouts had a right to free association under the First and Fourteenth Amendments and to hold that homosexual behavior is incompatible with the requirement in the Boy Scout Oath that scouts be “morally straight.”

Since the Supreme Court ruling, groups around the country opposed to the Scouts’ policy have stepped up their opposition to the organization. The ruling also prompted local governments, including the Fort Lauderdale City Commission, to withhold support from the Scouts in an attempt to get them to change their rules.

Despite protests against the Scouts’ policy — and the cancellation of donations to the Scouts by some charitable and youth-oriented organizations — Scouting is flourishing in the United States, officials with the Boy Scouts of America report.
Morahan is a senior writer with CNSNews.com. Used by permission.

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  • Lawrence Morahan