Boy Scouts of America v. Dale

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Boy Scouts of America v. Dale
Court Supreme Court of the United States
Date decided June 28, 2000
Appealed from Supreme Court of New Jersey


James Dale became an assistant scoutmaster in the 1990s at the age of 18. In college, Dale announced being an LGBT person and activist. Afterwards, the Boy Scouts of America dismissed him.

In the 1990s, the Boy Scouts of America had a policy of excluding girls, atheists, and gay people. At the time, it was unofficially called the "3Gs policy" (no girls, godless, or gays).

Procedural History

Dale sued in state court alleging that the exclusionary policy of the Boy Scouts of America in the 1990s violated the public accommodations statutes in the state of New Jersey. Dale loses.

Dale wins in the New Jersey court of Appeals based on the applicability of the New Jersey statute to not discriminate on the basis of gender vis-à-vis the Scouts.

Supreme Court of New Jersey affirms non-discrimination on the basis of gender.


Does the government violate a private association's 1st Amendment rights by prohibiting the organization from refusing membership based on a gender characteristic such as romantic orientation?

What are the civil rights of LGBT people in public accommodations in the United States?


SCOTUS justice Rehnquist argued that being gay/lesbian was against the basic values of the Boy Scouts of America in the 1990s.


SCOTUS decided that the government violated the private organization's right of association by forcing it to include an LGBT member.

Freedom of association allows the Scouts to exclude an LGBT leader.


In 2015, the Boy Scouts of America voluntarily permitted LGBT scoutmasters.