Boy Scouts, Supreme Court Decision on Homosexuality Could Be Connected

Later this month, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will decide the most controversial issue in its 103 year history-namely, whether or not every chartered Boy Scout unit will be required to foster open homosexuality in their units by accepting "openly homosexual" boys.

Then about 30 days after the BSA decision, the nation will receive two key critical decisions from the US Supreme Court on same sex marriage that will have dramatic consequences on the entire country.

If you think it is just a coincidence that these two matters are being decided so closely to each other, one right after the other, on similar topics -- think again. It is strategic and calculated timing on the part of gay-rights operatives at the highest levels.

Here is some brief history. In 2010, the BSA commissioned a comprehensive two-year study on its membership standards and specifically on the policy to not inquire about the sexual orientation or same sex attractions but to prohibit "open and avowed homosexuality". After the eleven-member committee of professional Scout executives and adult volunteers completed the study they "unanimously concluded" the policy should be maintained. In fact, accordingly to AP news stories, BSA spokesmen said this was "the absolute best policy for the organization."

So what would possess the BSA to risk embarrassing themselves on a national stage by opening back up such a controversial and divisive issue when months earlier they proclaimed they had the "absolute best policy?"

For me, the answer to that question was found in a little chicken wing and pizza restaurant right across from my office in Orlando, Florida last year in the summer of 2012. I was at this dive of a restaurant I frequent and happened to see Tico Perez, the National Commissioner of the BSA. Now I grew up in the same Scouting Council with Tico and we have also known each other for many years as fellow lawyers in the same city. I asked him how the BSA membership controversy was going and he assured me that the "Key Three" leaders in the organization had the issue "locked down" and the policy would not change. This was right after the BSA affirmed their policy and the two-year study. But he also described to me in detail the ugly onslaught of the types of sharp criticism BSA leadership had been receiving, which he described as "brutal and ongoing."

Then in January 2013, I saw a breaking news story that the BSA had opened "the conversation" back up again and was now reconsidering the same policy which they just re-affirmed only months ago!

Why did the BSA do this? Well, very simply because the intensity of the criticism was too much for them to handle. Human Rights Campaign, GLAAD and other gay-rights activist groups were steady and relentless in their systematic lobbying of BSA leaders, not to mention the mainstream media and Hollywood piling on right behind them.

But why the top down full court press on the Boy Scouts by gay-rights leaders around the country?

Well, unbeknownst to the BSA officials who were being pounded by activists from all sides, the two same-sex marriage cases were also slowly and silently making their way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If you are a Supreme Court "watcher" most agree that any close decisions are usually about Justice Anthony Kennedy. He is the most obvious and most often-discussed swing vote on the high court. And if you read his previous opinions on social issues, Kennedy does not seem as concerned with legal issues as with public opinion. Kennedy's opinions are not filled with extensive analyses of the nuisances of equal protection, state's rights or statutory construction. He seems more concerned with culture, polling numbers and signs of the times.

If the BSA changes its membership policy and allows open homosexuality among its boys, you can be guaranteed that this event will be cited to by Justice Kennedy in his decision on the same sex marriage cases.

So as the Supreme Court is taking up the next big "gay rights" issue this year, it's no large leap to consider the timing of this latest BSA gay rights push as aimed at influencing those few Justices who are susceptible to the court of public opinion, especially when it comes to cries of "discrimination."

What's at stake in this Boy Scout controversy is not just the future of Scouting. It is also the future of the institution of marriage and whether or not we will undergo yet another "fundamental transformation of America."

I originally pledged to Tico to create an organization which would support top BSA leadership. Sadly and ironically, I am now instead leading the national movement OnMyHonor.Net, to criticize him and other top BSA leaders for not being brave enough to stand up to their own adult peers and do what is right by standing up for what is the "absolute best" for the boys in Scouting.

John Stemberger is an Eagle Scout and president of On My Honor (

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