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Pool-legal


Pool et al v. Boy Scouts of America

     Two adult gay Eagle Scouts were excluded from Scouting when Boy Scouts officials discovered they were gay. In 1992, the National Capital Area ACLU filed complaints with the DC Department of Human Rights on their behalf, arguing that the Scouts violated local law prohibiting anti-gay discrimination in public accommodations.
     While the Commission's decision was pending, the US Supreme Court ruled that New Jersey's gay rights law could not be applied to the Boy Scouts without violating their First Amendment rights. The ACLU told the DC Commission that the case was significantly different than the New Jersey case. In June 2001, the Commission decided that the Boy Scouts are a public accommodation and that denying membership based on sexual orientation violates the DC law. The Boy Scouts filed an appeal to the DC Court of Appeals.
     Unfortunately, the DC Commission was prevented from submitting its own briefs, as Congress had passed a law preventing the District from spending any money pursuing this particular case. However, attorneys for Pool and Geller did present briefs and participate in oral arguments.
     On November 7, 2002, the DC Court of Appeals reversed the Commission's ruling. The opinion can be read here.
     As the DC Commission is legally prevented from pursuing this suit (by an Act of Congress), no appeal of this decision was ever filed.
     For more information on this case, click here.
 

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