In the case of Boy Scouts of America et al v. Dale in 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts could refuse membership to people who identify as gay.
The plaintiff in the case was James Dale, who began scouting when he was eight years old. By the time he entered Rutgers University, he was an Eagle Scout and an Assistant Scout Master.
After a two-year review, the Boy Scouts reaffirmed the ban on July 17, 2012.
Click here for the transcript.
I didn’t really think much of it, but I received a letter in the mail from the Boy Scouts. They said, "Avowed homosexuals are not permitted in the Boy Scouts of America," which kind of blindsided me because, I think, as a gay kid, I didn’t fit in in a lot of places.
But, the Boy Scouts was someplace I felt important and valuable and connected.
Seeing those words I knew that it was wrong; I wasn’t gonna walk away from it.
I didn’t think at that time that it would wind up in the Supreme Court. I just thought, you know, I’m right, they’re wrong, and justice and the courts will see this.
But to lose at the Supreme Court was really devastating.
I remember when the Boy Scout lawsuit started, I was out to my parents and there were times when we didn’t talk and there was fighting.
But ultimately my parents really came around to it, and I thought in many ways, the Boy Scouts would do the same.
Not that they were thrilled that I would be gay and visibly gay, but I did think that they would rise to the occasion, and I was really disappointed that they didn't.