Too often lost in the debate over whether the Boy Scouts have a constitutional right to be an exclusive, discriminatory, intolerant organization is the more salient question of whether the Boy Scouts should be an exclusive, discriminatory, intolerant organization subsidized by the government. Across the country, the Boy Scouts of America cash in on their “Good House Keeping Stamp of Approval” as a wholesome, patriotic outfit to make out like bandits in tax breaks and free or low-cost renting of public facilities (the case that comes to mind for me is the rental of a marina – yes, a marina – from a local government for a few dollars). One of these preferential leases – which amount to your (if you, the reader, pay taxes in one of the localities in question, that is) money subsidizing the Boy Scouts’ exclusion of atheists and homosexuals – is about to end thanks to rebellious lawyering by the ACLU. Say goodbye to the Desert Pacific Boy Scout Council’s preferential lease on Balboa and Fiesta Island Aquatic Parks. As the local ACLU legal director observed:
San Diego has finally taken itself out of the business of endorsing the exclusion of many of its residents from their own city parks,” said Jordan Budd, Legal Director of the local ACLU. “While, it is unfortunate that it has taken an adverse court ruling to get the city on the right side of this issue, the end result is a victory for every San Diegan who cares about tolerance and equality.
And as one of the attorneys put it:
The Boy Scouts cannot have it both ways. Having gone to great lengths to establish that discrimination against gays and non-believers is essential to their mission, and therefore protected by the First Amendment, they cannot now turn around and ask the people of San Diego to foot the bill for that discrimination.