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Boy scouts must reinstate gay in US court ruling.

A former assistant scoutmaster should be reinstated by the Boy Scouts of America because the organisation's ban on admitting gays violates New Jersey's laws against discrimination, a state appeals court ruled yesterday.

The court in Trenton said the Scouts' decision to eject James Dale from the Scouts because he is gay should be overturned.

A lawyer for Dale said it was the first time any US Appeals Court has ruled against the Boy Scouts in challenges to their exclusion of homosexuals.

A spokesman for the Boy Scouts' national HQ said there would be an appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Dale, now 27, earned 30 merit badges, seven achievement honours and other awards, and was an Eagle Scout during his 12 years in the Scouts. He last served as an assistant scoutmaster.

Dale, who works in New York for a publishing company, said he was elated by the decision.

"This is everything that I was taught in the Boy Scouts, that justice will prevail," Dale said.

He was expelled by the Monmouth Council of the Boy Scouts in 1990 after the group learned from a newspaper article that he was gay. He later sued.

The Appellate Division of State Superior Court ruled today that the Boy Scouts of America and its local councils are "places of accommodation" that must adhere to New Jersey's anti-discrimination law.

Gregg Shields, spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America, said an appeal will be filed. He said the scouts "have long taught traditional family values, and a homosexual is simply not a role model for those values."

Researchers say they have found the first strong evidence of a physical difference between lesbians and straight women a finding that the inner ears of gay women work more like those of men.

The discovery adds new support to the theory that sexual orientation may be predisposed before birth.

The origin of homosexuality has long been a matter of contention. Some believe it to be a matter of choice, but others including many gay people say it is not choice but biology.

Previous research has found that two parts of the male brain are different in gay and heterosexual men. Other studies have found that some genes differ between gay and straight men.

In the study to be published todayTues in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, researchers at the University of Texas, Austin, said they found the inner ears of female homosexuals have undergone "masculinisation," probably from hormone exposure before birth.

"Their auditory centres have been masculinised and the presumption is that so have the sites in the brain that direct sexual preference," said Dennis McFadden, the main author of the study.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Mar 3, 1998
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