Why Regulate the BSA?

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



This chapter addresses the question of whether it is appropriate for the law to intervene against the Boys Scouts of America (BSA). It argues that there are three legitimate reasons for the state to forbid discrimination by the BSA. First is the harm to the youth who are subjected to discriminatory treatment. Second, it is doubtful that the BSA's discriminatory policy actually reflects members' preferences better than a regime in which states can prevent discrimination by the BSA within their borders. Finally, there is an interest in ensuring that a major institution of civil society adapts to the cultural norms of the place where it operates.


Boys Scouts of America, discrimination, discriminatory policy

Publication Title

A Right to Discriminate? How the Case of Boy Scouts of America v. James Dale Warped the Law of Free Association