A proposed resolution to commend the Boy Scouts of America on its 102nd anniversary died today in an Assembly committee because the measure did not urge the group to accept gays and lesbians.
Instead, the Assembly Judiciary Committee passed a separate resolution that applauded the Boy Scouts but said its policy against accepting homosexuals is harmful and discriminatory -- and should be reconsidered.
The measure that passed, crafted by committee Chairman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, encouraged the group to "accept for membership and leadership positions all qualified boys and men, without discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or religious beliefs."
Assemblyman Mike Morrell, R-Rancho Cucamonga, wrote the resolution that died in the committee by a party-line vote, supported by Republicans. He said he simply wanted his Assembly Concurrent Resolution 94 to commend the group for its many good deeds, not to make the issue political.
"I don't think this body should impose your will upon them," Morrell told the committee.
Feuer countered that lawmakers were not imposing their will upon the Boy Scouts - and could not legally do so. But before commending an organization, the Assembly should consider all facets of it, he said.
Comparing one form of discrimination to another, Feuer said that any group that excluded potential members because of their skin color would not be popular at the Capitol.
"I don't see the difference between discrimination based on race and on sexual orientation," he said.
Feuer's Assembly Concurrent Resolution 128 passed the committee by a vote of 7-2, with Democrats supporting it.