Today, the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America joined with other religious and public interest organizations in submitting a “friend of the court” brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a petition filed by the Boy Scouts of America [“BSA”]. The legal brief was authored by the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. The BSA has petitioned the high court to review and reverse a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit which upheld a decision by the State of Connecticut to exclude the BSA from its annual state employee charitable fundraising campaign in the name of Connecticut’s “Gay Rights Law.”
Connecticut’s Campaign is made generally available to organizations that fulfill “charitable and public health, welfare, environmental, conservation or service purposes.” But, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s June, 2000 decision recognizing BSA’s constitutional right to exclude avowed homosexuals from its leadership ranks, administrators of Connecticut’s charitable campaign decided that BSA’s exercise of this right was objectionable and that BSA should thus be excluded from the hundreds of charitable organizations which benefit from the campaign.
The legal brief supports the BSA’s petition by arguing that under Supreme Court precedents, it is clear that the lower court’s decision threatens the free association rights of religious expressive organizations because membership policies are indispensable to message control in expressive associations.