James Anderson, James Dale, Rutgers, BSA and SCOTUS!
Editor’s Note: In the days ahead, an historic decision on marriage from Supreme Court of the United States will be announced, that began with courage and commitment of folks like these. I asked Jim to write an intro to his involvement with SCOTUS, while at Rutgers and as an advisor to Jim Dale and his challenge before SCOTUS following his expulsion as a Boy Scout leader, because he was gay.
From Jim Anderson:
I was “out of the closet” at Rutgers when I arrived there as an assistant professor in 1977. Later when I became a full professor, I was the only out gay man that anyone knew about (of course there were others, but they didn’t flaunt it like I did), so I reaped many benefits. When we had homophobic strife on campus the president appointed me chair of his President’s Select Committee on Lesbian and Gay concerns. We produced a landmark report that was copied widely around the country.
When I became associate dean of our school, my main management principle was Jesus’ turn the other cheek and take the blame. I found this to be the most effective way to get past controversies and begin to deal with them. It never hurt me to take the blame! My dean knew what I was doing and supported me all the way. He left all the internal administration to me.
At the same time, I became the faculty advisor to LGBT students and the main LGBT organization. I met many promising young LGBT students in this role, and one was James Dale, whom I believe was president of our LGBT group for two years. It was during this time that he got kicked out of the Boy Scouts, after achieving Eagle Scout status and becoming an assistant Scout Master. There was no explanation, so I encouraged him to enquire.
As this drama, portrayed in the video, unfolded, I encouraged him to pursue it, but I did my best to tell him, do this only if you want to, NOT because I want you to. But he was hot to trot. So watch the video and enjoy.
Lots of the LGBT students came to me with relationship problems. I always told them to take their partners as they are or leave them, but don’t try to change them. They will change, but not the way you necessarily want them to. I would use my Rafael as an example. I have been trying to change him for 44 years, and he does change, but NOT according to my “plan.”