The following comes from a Jan. 24 story in the L.A. Times.
When the California Supreme Court voted last week to prohibit state judges from belonging to nonprofit youth organizations that practice discrimination, Julia Kelety was not surprised.
The issue, which had been roiling through the legal community for the last year, had triggered vigorous debate, giving Kelety, a Superior Court judge in San Diego County, time to prepare.
Committee chair for Boy Scout Troop 24, she has already begun to consider a successor before she begins dialing back her commitment to the 30 boys in her troop.
Although the court’s unanimous decision did not explicitly mention the Boy Scouts of America, there was little doubt that it was the intended target. The organization, which lifted its ban on openly gay boys younger than 18, still prohibits gay and lesbian adults from serving as staff or voluntary leaders.
“My hope is that the Boy Scouts will change its policy before the new rule is implemented next January,” Kelety said, “but whether they will be able to do it in a year, I don’t know. The organization relies on support from significant religious groups who have issues with gay leaders.”
Gerald Uelmen, a law professor at Santa Clara University, believes that the decision will increase the pressure on the Boy Scouts to change their policy.
“I’m proud to see the California Supreme Court following the moral example of the Walt Disney Co.,” Uelmen said, referring to Disney’s decision to cut funding to the Boy Scouts based on Scouting’s policy toward gays.
An advisory committee to the Supreme Court, reviewing judicial ethics, first considered banning judges from positions in Scouting last February. Adopting this action by amending an article — Canon 2C — in the California Code of Judicial Ethics would “promote the integrity of the judiciary,” the committee concluded.
Yet the recommendation was criticized by judges and attorneys, who argued that the measure would unfairly restrict the activities of the state’s judges and was written less on the merits of judicial fairness than out of political correctness.
Barbara Kronlund, a judge in the San Joaquin County Superior Court and the mother of a Scout, wrote to express her concern that the ruling would lead to the “infringement of my right to free exercise of religion as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment….”