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Conn. Can Bar Scouts As Charity

July 29, 2002

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HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) _ Connecticut did not violate the rights of the Boy Scouts when it dropped the group from a list of charities that state employees contribute to through a payroll deduction plan, a federal judge has ruled.

A state panel removed the Boy Scouts from the list in 2000, after a state human rights commission found that including the organization violates state anti-discrimination laws because of the scouts’ ban on gay troop leaders.

The Irving, Texas-based Boy Scouts and a Connecticut scouting council filed a discrimination lawsuit against the state, arguing that exclusion from the list violated the group’s First Amendment rights.

In a decision dated July 22, U.S. District Judge Warren Eginton ruled in favor of the state.

``I am gratified by the court’s decision,″ state Comptroller Nancy Wyman said Monday. ``It just basically states that the state of Connecticut does not, and cannot by law, do business with organizations that discriminate.″

The Connecticut State Employee Campaign Committee hires the United Way to collect employee payroll deductions. In 1999, state employees directly contributed $9,950 to the Boy Scouts, which also received a portion of $200,000 that was not designated for any one charity.

Gay rights groups welcomed Eginton’s ruling.

``The ruling makes clear that while the Boy Scouts may be allowed to discriminate, they are not entitled to any special privileges from the state,″ said Karen Loewy, an attorney with the Gay & Lesbian Advocates and & Defenders.

Calls to the Boy Scouts and the organization’s attorney in Connecticut were not immediately returned Monday.

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