Court to hear gay, atheist cases against Boy Scouts
January 5, 1998
The Randall Twins in their scouting uniforms
Web posted at: 11:41 a.m. EST (1641 GMT)
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The California Supreme Court is expected
to begin hearing arguments Monday in two cases by
plaintiffs who say the Boy Scouts of America discriminates
against atheists and gays, in violation of their civil
Twin brothers William and Michael Randall, now 16, have been
fighting to remain in the Boy Scouts since 1991. They have
won numerous awards and commendations during their years in
They are fighting the organization's determination to kick
them out because they don't believe in God and want to omit
the phrase about "duty to God" in the Boy Scout oath. They
also refused to participate in religious activities required
to move ahead in scouting.
"I just decided I might as well be honest about it, rather
than lie, because it could really hurt my integrity if I were
to lie about this," William Randall said. "I couldn't live
"Plus," his brother interjected, "the Scout law talks about
When the Orange County Council of the Boy Scouts of America
expelled them from their troop, the Randall family sued.
Since that time, the boys have been allowed to return and are
working toward the rank of Eagle, the highest level of
As the boys keep scouting, their case continues to attract
news coverage and the attention of pundits, some of whom have
suggested that they start their own "Atheist Boy Scouts."
The brothers say they don't want an atheist troop. They
don't want to change the oath or anything else about Boy
Scouts. They just want to stay.
Gay man fights for acceptance in Scouts
Curran has been battling the Boy Scouts since 1981
But Tim Curran, who been fighting his case in the courts
since 1981, does want the Boy Scouts to change: He wants the
organization to accept gay men like himself as troop leaders.
He was an 18-year-old Assistant Scoutmaster in a Mount Diablo
Council troop when the Boy Scouts ousted him.
"The parents in my troop wanted to choose me as a leader," he
said. "They were informed. They knew me. It should have
been up to them."
Boy Scout representatives counter that as a private
organization, they can thus choose with whom they associate.
No decision in either case is expected until March. But
Michael Randall hopes to win, saying he would feel lost
without Scouts in his life. "If I do lose, it's like losing
a part of my life, because I spent so long in scouting."
Correspondent Anne McDermott contributed to this report.