November 30, 2001


City Council must choose between the Boy Scouts or the Gay Community

Normally, the renewal of the lease between the City of San Diego, Balboa Park, and the Boy Scouts of America is a mere formality. But this year things are a little different. This year the Gay community is challenging the lease and is determined to kick the Boy Scouts out of Balboa Park.

This issue comes before the City Council the first week of December (Dec. 4th) at which time they will determine whether or not to renew the lease at a dollar a year for the next ten years.

Why is the lease being challenged do you ask? Because the Boy Scouts have asserted their right to associate with whomever they choose. In this case, they choose not to associate with a gay man wishing to be the leader of a group of young men. The Gay community challenged this right all the way up to the Supreme Court, which affirmed the Boy Scouts' right to free association. Losing that battle, the local Gay community turned their attention to the lease issue. The basis of their argument is that the Boy Scouts are discriminatory.

The Boy Scouts of America is an organization that has seen millions of young men pass through its ranks. It has taught them basic moral principals such as loyalty, honesty, trustworthiness and integrity, to name a few. The Boy Scouts headquarters and adjoining campground has been in existence since as long as we can remember, providing a place where inner-city youth can go and get away from the grime of the streets and learn the art of survival. The Boy Scout meetings, usually held in a parent's home, provide a safe place where they can gather for friendship and learn fun activities. Then there are the Jamborees when all the local scouts gather together to show-off their skills. From these ranks leaders of our country have arisen, captains of industry claim association, and many men look back on their days as Boy Scouts as having played a key role in their development later in life.

The Boy Scouts teach young men to help others. Who doesn't associate Boy Scouts with helping an older adult across the street? The Boy Scouts teach young men to care for Mother Earth, to do good deeds through voluntary service. Boys learn about courage, patriotism, and responsibility.

The issue of discrimination was a point made moot by the Supreme Court. What the Gay community is doing is drawing a line in the sand and making the City Council chose between the Scouts and the Gay Community. Let us hope that the members of the City Council have the courage to stand up to the Gay community and choose to stand with the Boy Scouts of America by voting to continue the lease.

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