James dale first joined cub scouts in 1978 at age 8, following in his families scouting tradition. He then became a boy scout in June of 1981. He was the model of a perfect scout. He was delegated to the National jamboree, a summer camp staff member, and a dedicated fund-raiser for the BSA. During High School he was even a member of naval junior ROTC, where he served as a company commander. In June of 1988, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout, which is awarded to just 2-3 percent of all scouts and is the scouts highest honor.
After his 18th birthday, in August 1988, Dale applied for a adult membership and was asked to become an assistant scoutmaster of his former troop.
Dale went on to go to college at Rutgers University where he came out of the closet about being gay. He soon joined then became co-president of the Rutgers University Lesbian Gay & Bisexual Alliance. In the summer of 1990he attended a conference for high school teachers, guidance counselors, and principals about reducing the risk f suicide by gay teenagers. While at the conference a local newspaper interviewed Dale, who openly admitted that he was gay, on the needs of lesbian and gay youth.
After BSA officials saw the coverage Dale, they sent Dale a letter in the mail saying that his adult membership had been revoked. They gave no reason, it was only after writing them back that dale found out that the reason that his membership had been revoked was because BSA specifically forbid membership to homosexuals.
Dale sued the BSA for reinstatement in 1997, the appellate division of New Jersey ruled in his favor. The states highest court unanimously upheld the verdict in August 1999; it ruled that the BSA like other large organizations holding themselves out as open to the public, is a public accommodation subject to the stat Law Against Discrimination. Both courts cited BSAs size, its self-presentation as open to all boys and privileged relationship with local, state, and federal government. BSA is chartered by congress, receives benefits and special access from the military, state agencies, municipalities, police and fire department, and even public schools, which sponsor 20% of the troops.
The BSA took the case to the U.S. Supreme Court on April 26, 2000. In addition to the two briefs, one BSA and one from James Dales attorneys. There were 21 amici briefs in support of the BSA and 16 amicus briefs in support of James Dale. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned the ruling of the lower courts that the dismissal of a gay Scout leader had been illegal under the states anti-discrimination law. That the BSA was a private organization that had the right to decide how can join its ranks.
Just to be fair the BSA also excludes atheist and agnostics as leaders along with homosexuals.