Charging that Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles systematically excludes homosexuals and bisexuals from its pool of potential adult companions for boys of single parent families, the ACLU of Southern California asked today for a court order to end the alleged discrimination.
The Los Angeles Superior Court suit was filed on behalf of Richard Stanley, a 35-year-old Los Angeles car salesman who applied to participate in the program in July, 1984. In the course of a four-month application process, Stanley's bisexual orientation was mentioned.
According to the suit, Stanley was notified in writing the following November that he would not be considered for matching with a "little brother." In a later telephone conversation with a Big Brothers representative, Stanley said he was told the organization excludes bisexual and homosexual men.
"Just simply put," Stanley said in a telephone interview Monday, "I would like to be judged on who I am rather than what I am."
The suit asks the court to strike down the allegedly illegal discrimination. At the same time, the plaintiffs say that parents of children in the program should be fully informed of the characteristics of each potential "big brother," with the final decision as to the child's participation resting with the parent.
Without having yet seen the suit, a spokeswoman for the Big Brothers said such an action threatens "not only the future of thousands of fatherless boys but threatens our very existence."