James Dale (JD): I was speaking at a conference on the needs of gay teenagers. There was a newspaper there, and there was a photograph taken for the Star-Ledger New Jersey. 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.