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Gallup Poll: 64 % Americans
Support Court's Scout Ruling

Agreement or Disagreement with Decision Varies with Age

NY Times, Washington Post & Activist Groups are Outraged

Compiled By GayToday

jdaledecision.jpg - 8.56 K James Dale following the Supreme Court decision on Wednesday Princeton, New Jersey—CNN anchor Leon Harris introduced the Gallup Poll's Editor-in-Chief, Frank Newport June 29 and questioned him about last weekend's reactions among Americans when confronted by issues that have just been decided by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Gallup Poll chief replied that on the issue of gay Boy Scout leaders, his pollsters had asked the public: "Should or must the Boy Scouts of America be required to allow an openly gay person be a leader?"

The public, voting by 64 percent said, no, that the Boy Scouts should not be required, which is in accordance with what the Supreme Court decided. "So, on this issue," according to the Gallup Poll, " the public says: Yes, we agree with what the Supreme Court said. Let the Boy Scouts of America decide on their own who they allow to be their leaders."

Gallup also looked at age differences, showing how persons between the ages of 18-29 had said "Yes, you should require an openly gay person to be a (Scout) leader if he or she wants to." As the "No's" grew high in number, according to the pollsters, so did the numerical ages of those who agreed with the U.S. Supreme Court's decision.

A lead editorial in The New York Times, June 29, condemned the Supreme Court's decision:

"The court reached one of its lowest moments of the term when it ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts' right to exclude gay members…The four dissenters correctly noted that that the Scouts had failed to show that admitting gays was fundamentally incompatible with the organization's core mission, the test the court has traditionally applied to group's trying to escape an anti-discrimination law…James Dale, the excluded Eagle Scout, deserved better. So did the rest of the nation."

The Washington Post's June 29 editorial noted that:

"The scouts claim a kind of universality that their position on this issue puts at risk. Some Boy Scout troops are sponsored by government agencies or public schools, and the organization has a federal charter. An enormous number of boys participate in scouting programs around the country. All of this relies on public goodwill, which the scouts place in jeopardy over a matter that is, at best, tangential to their core mission.

"The court decision may give the scouts some time to contemplate this issue. But ultimately they face a choice between changing a retrograde policy or becoming a less honored and central institution in American life."

The Human Rights Campaign's Legal Director Tony Varona, charged that:

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"This is a hollow victory for the Boy Scouts of America--considering the wasted time, energy and money it has spent on maintaining its ability to discriminate and attack young men who have served its organization with distinction. Is this any way to teach youth about fairness, honesty and justice?"

Matt Coles, director of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights Project saw the most troubling aspect of the case "illustrated by the Court's acceptance of the Scouts' decision not to exclude heterosexual Scout leaders who oppose the organization's homophobic policies, but to exclude openly gay Scout leaders."

The ACLU statement noted:

"The Court has essentially said that freedom of speech gives an organization the right to discriminate on the basis of an individual's identity, rather than a message that is in conflict with the group's views."

"James Dale's case is a clear example of why New Jersey passed a nondiscrimination law in the first place--so qualified people don't suffer discrimination because of who they are."

Lenora Lapidus, Legal Director of the ACLU of New Jersey. "Today's ruling is out of step with the critical social need for nondiscrimination laws."

Elizabeth Toledo, Executive Director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force decried the Court decision by saying:

"Good citizenship and a more peaceful world require understanding and tolerance, not rejection, of human differences. We renew our call on the BSA to model 'moral straightness' by ending its shameful exclusion of youth and adults who are different."

While Wednesday's 5-4 ruling disappointed her, Ms. Toledo commended James Dale for bringing the lawsuit forward.

"Mr. Dale deserves our community's gratitude for proving to the world that a gay man can, in fact, be widely considered a 'morally straight' citizen."

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