No free parking for discriminating sailors

Filed under: Teens, Gay Parenting, Places To Go

It seems the Boy Scouts are feeling the heat for their discriminatory ways all over. Remember the story about the Philadelphia council who faced losing the free use of their city-owned headquarters building for discriminating against homosexuals? Well, it's happening here, too, in my own backyard. The Sea Scouts, a sailing-oriented arm of the Boy Scouts have berthed their boats for free in the Berkeley Marina since the 1930's. In 1997, however, Berkeley adopted a non-discrimination policy in regards to the use of the marina and cancelled the scouts' subsidy the following year.

In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the scouts do have the right to ban gay leaders, a decision I support, even though I abhor its implementation. That doesn't mean, however, that cities and states have to ignore that when considering what groups will receive such benefits. It is in the community's best interest for the government to support groups that provide a service to that community. The Red Cross is a good example of this. Not every group that comes along automatically gets support, however, and communities like Berkeley are deciding that discriminatory groups like the scouts do not represent the best use of their limited funds.

In this respect, I salute both Berkeley and Philadelphia in taking a stand for what's right. Eugene Evans, the leader of the Berkeley Sea Scouts, disagreed and sued the city. The case went all the way to the State Supreme Court which decided unanimously that local governments are not obligated to offer support to groups that discriminate. From there, the case went to the Supreme Court of the US who declined to take the case, indicating that they saw nothing wrong with the decision handed down by the State Supreme Court. I'm sure this isn't the last we'll hear of this, but for now, I say the courts have made the right decision. Let's hope the Boy Scouts get the hint and change their policies.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.