The Scouts' Oath
Synopsis Background The Scouts The Filmmakers Community Impact Organizations Press Room Related Links Screenings Order a Tape

Winner: Sundance Film Festival


The project traces the conflict between the anti-gay policies of the Boy Scouts of America and the broad-based movement by many of its members to overturn them. The story is told predominantly through the experiences of a 13-year old boy and a 70-year-old man - both heterosexual, both dedicated to the Scouts, and both determined to change the course of Scouting history. Their challenge is being waged in their hometown of Petaluma, California - a place more familiar with agriculture than activism. Yet it is here where they have begun an international grassroots petition drive and media campaign to overturn the BSA's anti-gay policy. In 1998, they formalized their movement into an organization called Scouting for All.

Winner: USA Film Festival
As their work becomes more national in prominence, the film documents their deepening commitment to gay civil rights. Along the way, we meet gay Scouts and Scoutmasters whose painful stories of expulsion earned national attention. In 1999, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of James Dale, a 29-year-old Eagle Scout who sued the Boy Scouts after they dismissed him in 1990 for being gay. Soon after, the Boy Scouts appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court and in August of 2000, the High Court ruled five to four in favor of the Boy Scouts, affirming their right to exclude homosexual members (Dale v. Boy Scouts of America).

Winner: Miami Film Festival
By documenting the lives of people who work for change from within the BSA ranks together with those who have been "excommunicated," the film offers a powerful example of what can happen when straight and gay Americans come together with a common purpose.

Winner: Turin International Film Festival