Major Development Expected in Gay Eagle Scout Case

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Lambda and plaintiff James Dale speak at news conference, Wednesday, Aug. 4, 12:30 p.m.; Tele-conference to follow at 3:00 p.m.

Date

Date: 
08/03/1999

(NEW YORK, August 3, 1999) -- Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, with its client, former Eagle Scout James Dale, will hold a news conference Wednesday at its New York headquarters to discuss a major development expected in the case challenging the anti-gay policies of the Boy Scouts of America. A phone-in tele-conference will follow.

Lambda is lead counsel to Dale, the exemplary Eagle Scout ousted from his New Jersey Troop solely because he is gay. A ruling from the New Jersey Supreme Court has been highly anticipated in the case, which, in the court below, resulted in the first-ever ruling to strike down BSA's ban on gay members.

Said Lambda Senior Attorney Evan Wolfson, who argued the case on Dale's behalf, "We hope that a ruling by New Jersey's highest court will return the organization to what its members consider its true mission -- teaching boys the virtues of honesty, community service, and respect for others."

Dale, now 29, was in scouting for over 12 years, earned over 30 merit badges, and rose to the rank of Eagle Scout before being kicked out of the organization in July 1990. A local troop was forced to disband when Dale was stripped of his position as an assistant scoutmaster.

In March 1998, Lambda won the victory before the intermediate appellate court, which ruled that Dale's expulsion was in violation of New Jersey civil rights law. Rejecting "stereotypical notions" about the abilities of gay youth and adults to participate in Scouting, the court also rejected arguments that the group had a first amendment right to discriminate.

NEWS CONFERENCE

WHO: Lambda plaintiff James Dale, Senior Staff Attorney Evan Wolfson, and Legal Director Beatrice Dohrn WHERE: Lambda National Headquarters, 120 Wall Street (corner of South Street), Manhattan, Suite 1500 WHEN: Wednesday, August 4, 12:30 p.m.

TELE-CONFERENCE WHO: Lambda plaintiff James Dale and Senior Staff Attorney Evan Wolfson WHEN: Wednesday, August 4, 3:00 p.m. HOW: Call 913-661-0962, after the prompt, enter pass code 7825; please R.S.V.P to Lambda if you are interested in participating in this call


(James Dale v. Boy Scouts of America, No. 45761)

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Contact: Peg Byron 212-809-8585 x 230, 888-987-1984 (pager); Evan Wolfson 212-809-8585 x 205

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