Boy Scouts of America, National Capital Area Council v. Pool

809 A.2d 1192
Brief Filed: 2/02
Court: D.C. Court of Appeals
Year of Decision: 2002

Read the full-text amicus brief (PDF, 313KB)

Issue

Whether the Boy Scouts of America and the National Capital Area Council engaged in unlawful discriminatory practices by revoking individuals from scout membership because of their sexual orientation

Index Topic

Sexual Orientation

Facts

This case involves the termination of membership by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) of two gay former Eagle Scouts. One of the men had recently obtained a Unit Commissioner position with the D.C. BSA chapter. Their memberships in the BSA and the Unit Commissioner position were terminated as soon as they revealed they were gay. They filed complaints alleging that the Boy Scouts had engaged in unlawful discriminatory practices by revoking their memberships because of their sexual orientation. The combined cases came before the D.C. Human Rights Commission. The Commission concluded that the BSA and the National Capital Area Council unlawfully discriminated against the two men by subjecting them to disparate treatment by revoking their membership in a place of public accommodation on the basis of sexual orientation, in violation of the Human Rights Act of 1977, and ordered that the men be reinstated. The BSA's appealed the decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals arguing that the the District of Columbia did not have jurisdiction in the case and that the verdict went against a decision by the Supreme Court in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 64, which ruled in June 2000 that the Boy Scouts is not a public accommodation subject to state anti-discrimination laws (APA also filed an amicus brief in that case).

APA's Position

APA filed an amicus brief similar to the brief filed in Boy Scouts v. Dale which (1) explains the nature of sexual orientation, (2) asserts that sexual orientation does not adversely affect children in the care of homosexuals (homosexuality is not a mental disorder, gay adults do not pose a heightened risk of sexual abuse, and sexual orientation is not a predictive factor for parenting skills), and (3) asserts that anti-discrimination legislation will help abate discrimination against gay people.

Results

A three-member panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals found that the D.C. Commission on Human Rights' ruling was flawed in light of the ruling in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, 530 U.S. 64 declaring that the BSA was within its rights when the organization expelled another adult scout leader because he is gay. The opinion noted that they could find no significant difference between the two cases, that the Supreme Court's decision in Dale controls this case, and therefore the decision and order of the D.C. Commission must be reversed.