James Dale, Plaintiff in 2000 Supreme Court Case, Calls on Scouts to Drop the Gay Ban

James Dale, the plaintiff in the 2000 Supreme Court case Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, writes about the reasons he challenged the Scouts.

DaleAnd the letter from the Scouts revoking his membership that set things in motion:

With this one letter, the work to which I had dedicated more than half of my young life came completely undone. I was devastated. Yet, it was precisely the sense of leadership, respect, equality and community that the Scouts had instilled in me that would not allow me to accept this injustice, done not just to me but to countless other young gay people who had found a home in the Boy Scouts of America. Not fighting my expulsion from the Scouts would have been a betrayal of all I’d learned in the Scouts….

…If sexual issues are not brought up in the Scouting environment — and in my experience, they never were, until an outside party publicized my homosexuality — that’s all the more reason that it should not matter if some members happen to be gay. It has no impact on their ability to earn an American heritage merit badge, join the Order of the Arrow or achieve lifelong Eagle Scout status.

Why did I challenge the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policy? Because I am a loyal Scout. [wapo]


  1. Bob says

    Folks, if you run into someone who does not get it, try this on them:
    “Suppose your 7 yr old boy joined Cubs and continued into Boy Scouts, then, when a teen, he realized he is Gay. Do you then:
    A– ship him out, away from his lifelong friends, to join the ‘Gay Scouts’
    B– tell him that he needs to lie, even if it violates Scouts’ Honor
    C– expect everyone to accept him, because he is still the same kid

  2. Dan says

    In light of the fact that there will be no decision until May, could we think about moderating the number of BSA posts until then? So, so many lately. (Love the blog, not trying to be bitchy.)

  3. AriesMatt says

    I must have been living under a rock when all this came to a head and forgive me for being shallow, but DAMN James Dale is a handsome man! Kudos to him for standing up for what is right.

  4. says

    Any commentary from James Dale is especially pertinent and valuable considering he was THE first vocal Eagle Scout discriminated against by having his rank and membership revoked for being himself. That all began in 1990 and he was represented by none other than Evan Wolfson when he chose to sue The Boy Scouts Of America in court, and rightfully so.

    Excellent brief interview with James at NBC here: (http://tv.msnbc.com/2013/02/06/former-boy-scout-on-orgs-gay-ban-this-policy-is-only-hurting-them/)

  5. Randy says

    This isn’t about the homosexual community wanting to be included in the BSA; this is about them wanting to destroy it.

    Nevermind that a homosexual scout leader and/or scout would be akin to a male leading a girl scout troop, or a pubscent teenage boy being in a tent with girl scouts…we’ll just pretend that angle doesn’t exist…

    The bottom line is that if the scouts keep this ban, the homosexual community and liberal left will pounce and bully its corporate sponsors into dropping its funding…however, if the ban is overturned and homosexuals are let in, the scouts will lose its main funding and backing from the Catholic and Mormon churches, which will crumble it even faster. And in my suspicious mind, that was the goal all along. You people knew what that homosexuals in scouts would create a double edged contradiction, and that’s why you’re pursuing this. Vindictively, you couldn’t leave well enough alone and find your own groups to be part of because it was never about “inclusion,” it was about “The BSA is heavily backed by conservative values and tradition…and we hate that…so lets hone in on it until it implodes.”

    Selfish people.

  6. Shane says

    welcome to the discussion, RANDY. what about the outcome that the BSA drops its ban, and the Mormon and Catholic Churches realize they want to keep giving money to the organization? And slowly they realize their view on homosexuality are antiquated, and they too adopt the view that we should all learn to live together harmoniously and respect our differences, not enshrine prejudices under the guise of ‘tradition’?

  7. BETTY says

    Hey Randy: there have been gay people in the BSA before. There are gay people in the BSA now. It’s your vindictivness that wants to throw these kids out.

  8. BETTY says

    Btw Randy: the BSA will get back a lot of the sponsors they have already lost because of their vindictive discriminatory policy. I’m sure there will be even more sponsors who will line up to support them too. That’s if they do the right thing. If the Mormon and Catholic church want to pull their support, well, they are the vindictive ones. But of course they don’t have a history of pettines and vindictiveness do they?? (Sarcasm)

  9. HUH says

    So you do not want to hear when there are any developments in this story DAN? Maybe you would prefer more stories on really important topics like the Kardashian’s and Lindsay Lohan?

  10. UFFDA says

    Randy – yes welcome to the discussion. You should be encouraged to know that you’re paranoic is misplaced. There is no cabal planning the destruction of the Boy Scouts of America. No one is getting together to ochestrate the destruction of traditional values – or the Boy Scout codes of honor.

    No, what’s happening is that gay people are being consciously included in more of society than ever before and that is because people are getting to know us for – yes – the regular folk we are. You may not believe it but we are part of normalcy.

    Of course messy things are going to happen if gay people are consciously included in the Scouts but we don’t know that more will happen because people are open about it or not. That remains to be seen.

    Everywhere now, it’s time to try new solutions and new inclusions. As in so many things, it’s probably not going to turn out nearly as badly as the doubters fear. Let’s be optimistic.

  11. Caliban says

    Go f*ck yourself, Randy. I was a Boy Scout. I didn’t join to destroy sh*t. I joined as a seven or eight year old as a Cub, you tool, same as most boys do. I joined to go camping and go on hikes in the woods. My father was our troop leader for a while and he’d been a Scout many years before. I still have his BSA pocket knife and medals.

    James Dale was an exemplary Scout, as evidenced by his getting his Eagle pin. He wasn’t kicked out for anything he DID but for who he IS. And if the BSA breaks, who broke it? They did it themselves by holding onto archaic attitudes and not changing with the times. The Mormon church takes in eight BILLION dollars a year in tithes. If they want to have the Moroni Scouts I think they can afford it. It might cut into their meddling in government affairs, but they aren’t supposed to be doing it anyway. As for the Catholics? They can form the Pope Scouts if they want, I guess, but I’d hope no sane parent would send a kid out with them without a bulletproof butt shield.

  12. noteasilyoffended says

    Randy, you are just plain wrong. I was a Boy Scout and an Eagle Scout. I was not the only gay Scout in our troop. Gay scouts have been around FOREVER. Being gay and conservative are not mutually-exclusive. Scouting taught me a lot. It taught me discipline. No one wants to destroy the Boy Scouts. That’s such BS. I bet you’re one of those deluded folks who thinks the government is out to take your guns too. Grow up, Randy and join the real world. And this progressing world is more and more one of inclusion, not exclusion.

  13. First class boy scout says

    @Noteasilyoffended…I was a Cub scout and a Boy scout as well and if I was the only gay in our troop I don’t know. I too learned much in scouts, some of it having to do with living in the outdoors, which I still enjoy today, some of it dealing with the pursuit of a goal, such as a merit badge, which has served me well in my education and my life. I’m certain that I learned more, including the principal of dealing with other people in a fair manner. My belonging to the Boy scout troop was an important factor in my development as a human being, and would be a worthwhile pursuit for anyone, gay or straight.

  14. Jerry6 says

    @Randy I suspect by your comments that you are not old enough to really know about the history of the Boy Scouts Of America. When I was in Scouting in the 1930’s, my Scoutmaster was a known Homosexual. When we met the him for merit badge revue, or any other reason, his apartment door was always open so that we and the Scout Master could be seen by anyone passing his door. The Troop had one Patrol for us Queers, and three others for the “Straits”. At Summer Camp,(Which served two Counties) swimming was naked only, except for the Life Guards. The Moron Church was NOT our sponsor.

  15. Mary says

    Poor Randy. And he hasn’t even come up against Kiwi yet!

    But I’ve been noticing a lot of new anti-gay people trolling here lately. Take heart, though. No one remains on Towleroad very long without becoming pro-equality. Randy will either have his views changed by the influence of this site or he’ll get bored and move on.

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