California & The Boy Scouts

The California Ethics Advisory Committee published an advisory statement saying judges could keep their Boy Scout affiliations for either of two reasons: if the troop allows gays and lesbians as leaders, or if it excludes them for religious reasons. The ban on discrimination in the judicial ethics code contains an exemption for exclusions motivated by religion.

To comply with ethical standards, a judge must determine that a Scout troop with an antigay policy is “an organization dedicated to the preservation of religious values of legitimate common interest to the troop members,” the committee said.

The ethical code has long forbidden judges to belong to organizations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. But since 1996, the state’s high court has exempted membership in “nonprofit youth organizations” to accommodate judges affiliated with the Boy Scouts. That exemption will end in January.

 

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