Girl Scouts say the Boy Scouts have caused 'an explosion of confusion' since opening up membership to girls in new legal filing

Megan Johnson
·2-min read
The Girl Scouts say that the Boy Scouts have caused confusion by opening its membership up to girls. (Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Girl Scouts of the USA)
The Girl Scouts say that the Boy Scouts have caused confusion by opening its membership up to girls. (Photo: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for Girl Scouts of the USA)

Lawyers for the Girl Scouts say the popular organization for young girls is currently engaged in a “highly damaging” recruitment war with the Boy Scouts.

Legal briefs filed on behalf of the Girl Scouts of the United States of America last week claim that ever since the Boy Scouts opened its membership to girls in 2018, the organization is unfairly recruiting them. The GSA called the efforts “extraordinary and highly damaging ... causing an explosion of confusion” among its potential membership.

“As a result of Boy Scouts’ infringement, parents have mistakenly enrolled their daughters in Boy Scouts thinking it was Girl Scouts,” the Girl Scouts charged in a Christmas Eve court filing, the Associated Press reports. The filing is connected to a 2018 trademark infringement lawsuit filed by the organization seeking to prevent the Boy Scouts from using the terms “scouts” or “scouting.”

In response to the Girl Scouts’ allegations, the Boy Scouts, which is seeking to dismiss the lawsuit, said the GSA is launching a “ground war” to wreck plans by the popular organization to include more girls.

“To imply that confusion is a prevailing reason for their choice is not only inaccurate — with no legally admissible instance of this offered to date in the case — but it is also dismissive of the decisions of more than 120,000 girls and young women who have joined Cub Scouts or Scouts BSA since the programs became available to them,” the Boy Scouts said in a statement.

Lawyers for the Girl Scouts claimed that every time the organization complained about unfair marketing, the Boy Scouts blamed individuals, churches or others in response.

“According to Boy Scouts, blame for the rampant marketplace confusion lies at everyone’s feet but its own,” the Girl Scouts said in response, according to the AP.

The recent upheaval isn’t the organization’s only recent brush with controversy. Back in October, the organization had to clarify its stance on women’s empowerment after facing criticism for a statement congratulating recently confirmed Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett for her new role, Yahoo Life previously reported.

In a since-deleted tweet, the organization declared “Congratulations Amy Coney Barrett on becoming the 5th woman appointed to the Supreme Court since its inception in 1789,” alongside an image of Barrett and the four other justices who came before her: Sandra Day O’Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. In response, the message was met with replies saying Barrett’s conservative politics were contradictory to the organization’s message of female empowerment.

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