U.S. Supreme Court Overturns New Jersey Rejection of Gay Boy Scout Ban

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Teleconference: Wednesday, June 28, at 1:00 p.m. EDT Press Conference: Wednesday, June 28, at 2:30 p.m. EDT
June 28, 2000

(NEW YORK, June 28, 2000) —The United States Supreme Court, in a disappointing decision Wednesday, overturned the New Jersey Supreme Court’s unanimous decision that denied the Boy Scouts of America an exemption from that state’s anti-discrimination law in order to bar gay members.


Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund and its client James Dale, the exemplary Eagle Scout who challenged the anti-gay policy after being ejected from Scouting, will discuss the decision: • Teleconference: Wednesday, June 28, at 1:00 p.m. EDT • Press Conference: Wednesday, June 28, at 2:30 p.m. EDT

Said Lambda Senior Staff Attorney Evan Wolfson, who argued the case before the High Court on April 26, “The Supreme Court today said that Boy Scouts of America has a right to discriminate, but the Court did not say that discrimination is right.”

Added Wolfson, “Like other kids, gay youth deserve the opportunity to participate in valuable programs like Scouting, and those who actively support the Boy Scouts must now work to end discrimination and send a message of fairness.”

In overturning last year’s New Jersey Supreme Court ruling, the High Court sided with lawyers from the Boy Scouts of America who insist that, despite the organization’s large size, unique government entanglement and claim that it is open to all boys, BSA may exclude gay kids and adults from participation.

Lambda has represented Dale since 1990, when at age 19, he was expelled from membership after Scout officials discovered he is gay. Lambda is the nation’s largest and oldest legal organization for lesbians, gay men and people with HIV/AIDS.


WHAT: Teleconference about U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale WHO: Eagle Scout James Dale and Lambda Senior Staff Attorney Evan Wolfson WHEN: Wednesday, June 28, 1:00 p.m. EDT HOW: Call 913_661_0962; at the prompt, enter pass code 7825; Please RSVP to Lambda at 212_809_8585 if interested in participating in the call. WHAT: Press conference about U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale WHO: Eagle Scout James Dale, Lambda Attorneys Evan Wolfson, Ruth Harlow, Beatrice Dohrn and David Buckel WHEN: Wednesday, June 28, 2:30 p.m. EDT WHERE: New York City, 120 Wall Street, 19th Floor Conference Room


(Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale, No. 99-699)


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


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