Timothy Griffin, a 22-year-old Eagle Scout and an eight-year veteran employee of Camp Winton in Sacramento California lost his job for being too gay. Griffin committed the absolutely horrendous crimes of wearing nail polish and earrings, and worst of all *gasp* acting too gay!
Griffin, of course, is devastated. Glen Goddard, program director argued that Griffin’s termination had nothing to do with his sexual orientation, and everything to do with his uniform. Apparently nail polish and earrings are against uniform code. Right. Uh huh. We believe you. You don’t hate gay people at all!
More than half of Griffin’s coworkers stood behind him painting their nails in solidarity. A third walked out in support of him after discovering the termination. Clearly, a majority of his co-workers, who are also Boy Scouts of America employees, disagree with the outdated and exclusionary policies of the organization. Unfortunately, BSA refuses to take them seriously and continues on its hateful course. Eventually, this policy will die out — that or the BSA will. Why drag it out?
Unfortunately, Griffin has no legal recourse under federal law. The Supreme Court ruled that BSA, as a private organization, has freedom of association and is therefore allowed to discriminate. Shocking, no?
So the question which need asking is this: The government has laws that protect people from discrimination. The BSA has policies that violate those laws. They are a private organization, so that is, theoretically, fully legal. As a private organization then, whose views violate the government’s laws against discrimination, why are they continually allowed to use government property?
The Boy Scouts of America Act of 2002 states that:
[no school receiving Department of Education funds] shall deny equal access or a fair opportunity to meet to, or discriminate against, any group officially affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America, or any other youth group listed in title 36 of the United States Code (as a patriotic society), that wishes to conduct a meeting within that designated open forum or limited public forum, including denying such access or opportunity or discriminating for reasons based on the membership or leadership criteria or oath of allegiance to God and country of the Boy Scouts of America or of the youth group listed in title 36 of the United States Code (as a patriotic society).
So we have federal laws on the books giving the BSA access to government buildings paid for, maintained by, and essentially owned by the tax payer — but they’re a private organization? Does this make any sense? Would it be acceptable for the KKK to use a public school for their meetings? They’re a private organization too, right? No? Then why is it okay for the BSA?
Please note that the argument being made here is not that they have no right to their views — the First Amendment guarantees the right to free speech. Indeed, they should have the right to demonstrate and protest in support of their views, no matter what they are. The argument being made however is that this private organization should keep their private meetings and exclusionary non-protesting, non-demonstrating private events on private property, and out of our schools and public buildings.