Boy Scouts Win A Round in Continuing Culture War

July 7, 2008 - 8:02 PM

( - The Boy Scouts of America may have won a key battle in the United States Supreme Court, allowing the organization to exclude homosexuals from its leadership ranks, but the culture war continues, with the BSA still defending itself in communities all across America against charges of discrimination.

The latest battleground is the tiny Maryland beach town of Cape St. Claire, where nationally known conservative activists joined local residents Tuesday night to complain about a proposal by the local homeowners association to withdraw sponsorship of a local Cub Scout pack. The Cape St. Claire community has sponsored the Scouts for 30 years.

By the end of the evening, the homeowners association had voted to continue its sponsorship, but the vote created some hard feelings on both sides.

Josephine Gardner, the association's vice-president, called the "whole thing ... almost obscene," and said she thought the Boy Scouts had been "hijacked" by special interest groups.

Several hundred supporters of the Boy Scouts heard former Republican presidential candidate Alan Keyes defend the Scouts' policy.

"It is terribly important ... to defend those values that support monogamous marriage," Keyes said.

The BSA's policy to exclude homosexuals has been in the national spotlight since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the policy was legal.

Local governments, charitable organizations and corporations that had previously supported the Scouts, however, immediately began re-examining their affiliations with the group. Those actions have triggered counter-protests from groups determined to keep the Boy Scouts in business.

"We're here tonight because this isn't just happening in Cape St. Claire," said Bob Knight, spokesman for the Family Research Council.

David Whitney, who led the petition drive to force a public vote on the proposal to withdraw sponsorship of the Cub Scout pack in Cape St. Claire, said the homeowners association's board of governors was about to make a decision on its own.

"Supposedly, they (board of governors) were talking with the Scouts and it sounded like there were no issues, [that] they were going to continue sponsoring them. And then all of a sudden, in the newspaper, we see an article....that says the Cape, as a community, has decided to end sponsoring the Scouts," Whitney said. "I said, 'What? When did that happen? How did that happen?"

The community's sponsorship of the Cub Scout pack essentially means allowing the group to use the community center free of charge. The vote to continue that arrangement was overwhelming, with 625 members of the association siding with the Scouts and only 70 against.