Boy Scouts of America v. Wyman
GLAD worked to stop the special access of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to the Connecticut state employees’ charitable campaign in light of their discrimination based on sexual orientation. Our participation in this matter dated to early 2000, when GLAD submitted a brief to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Responsibilities (CHRO), explaining that although BSA may use public facilities on terms equal to those offered any other group, they may not enjoy any special privileges. Therefore, GLAD argued, unless BSA endorsed a policy of non-discrimination, as every other group must do in order to participate in the state charitable campaign, they were ineligible.
In large part based on GLAD’s analysis, the CHRO ruled that BSA’s inclusion in the campaign would violate state law. After being advised that they could not participate in the campaign, BSA filed suit in federal court against the state comptroller. Denied the right to appear as a party, GLAD filed an amicus brief on behalf of ourselves, the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), and the Connecticut Coalition for LGBT Civil Rights arguing that the exclusion of BSA from the campaign is proper. The U.S. District Court for Connecticut agreed, ruling that the state in no way violated the BSA’s constitutional rights when it excluded them from the campaign because of their anti-gay policy.
The BSA filed an appeal to the federal Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. GLAD again filed an amicus brief on behalf of ourselves, CWEALF, and the CT Coalition, arguing to the appeals court that well-established Connecticut law precludes discriminatory groups from access to state facilities. The Court turned down the BSA’s appeal, confirming GLAD’s position that BSA may not receive special privileges from the state as long as they retain their anti-gay policy. The U.S. Supreme Court denied review of this case, letting stand the lower court’s ruling.