Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2006 Page: 25 of 72
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friend of the court brief arguing that even though
the organization believes in God and members
take an oath to do their duty to God, it is not a
The American Civil Liberties Union sued San
Diego and the Boy Scouts in August 2000 on
behalf of a lesbian couple and an agnostic couple,
each with scouting-age sons. They filed the law-
suit after the City Council voted to extend the
group's 50-year lease of Balboa Park camp space
for another 25 years.
In July 2003, U.S. District Judge Napoleon
Jones Jr. sided with the plaintiffs, ruling that San
Diego acted improperly when it leased 18 acres
of camp space to the Scouts. The judge ruled that
the group is a religious organization and the lease
violated federal law that prohibits the govern-
ment promotion of religion.
Jones later ruled that the Scouts' lease with the
city for a separate aquatics center at Fiesta Island
in Mission Bay Park was also illegal.
Mark Danis, an attorney for the plaintiffs, told
the appeals panel the Boy Scouts reserves six
weeks during the height of summer for itself on
Fiesta Island and other groups have "inferior
access" to both sites.
"San Diego city land can't be used as the head-
quarters of a discriminatory organization," Danis
said outside court. "This organization kicks peo-
ple out if they don't believe in God and our
clients are agnostics, they chose to not believe in
God, and they can't use city land on an equal
basis with Boy Scouts."
Jones ruled the city has shown preferential
treatment to the Boy Scouts, "an admittedly reli-
gious, albeit nonsectarian, and discriminatory
organization," because it negotiated exclusively
with the group for the lease of the aquatics center.
The Scouts had leased the half-acre. Fiesta
Island property since 1987 at no charge. The
group spent $2 million to build the aquatics cen-
ter and provided for its maintenance.
The Boys Scouts has been the target of prefer-
ential treatment lawsuits since the U.S. Supreme
Court ruled in June 2000 that it has a constitution-
al right to exclude openly gay men from serving
as troop leaders and because it compels members
to swear an oath of duty to God.
The appeals panel did not release a decision
Tuesday. Rulings typically aren't announced in
such cases until three to six months following the
hearing of arguments.
Competing church leaders squabble over gay marriage in Iowa
As religious leaders feud over defining marriage, governor announces
he would sign same-sex civil union bill if it is sent to him
By Mike Glover Associated Press
DES MOINES, Iowa — Competing church
leaders squabbled over the status of marriage,
while Governor Tom Vilsack said he would sign
into law a measure allowing civil unions between
same-sex couples in the unlikely event the
Legislature sent it to him.
Conservative church leaders held a Statehouse
rally to sign a "marriage matters" agreement,
vowing to increase the commitment to counsel-
ing and support for traditional marriages.
"Marriage is in trouble," said Mike Flartwig,
saying ministers should focus on ways to support
"Strong marriages mean strong families,
strong churches and strong communities," said
the Rev. Jeff Bradley, of Des Moines.
The conservative ministers distributed litera-
ture with Biblical verses defining marriage as
between a man and a woman.
Within minutes, more liberal church leaders
rallied to argue for extending the protections of
marriage to same-sex couples.
"I have faith that one day we will look back at
our restrictions on same-sex marriage and shake
our heads, wondering why it took so long for us
to come to our senses/' said the Rev. Mark
Stringer, a Unitarian minister who chairs the
board of the Interfaith Alliance of Iowa and
Continued on Next Page
Iowa Governor Tom
Vilsack says he
does not want to
see marriage rede-
fined, but that he
have the right to
and their relation-
legal civil unions
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02.17.06 I dallas voice I 25
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Vercher, Dennis. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 22, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2006, newspaper, February 17, 2006; Dallas, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth238896/m1/25/: accessed March 18, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.