The Constitution gives the Boy Scouts of America the right to bar an openly gay man from becoming a Scoutmaster, a judge has ruled.

Superior Court Judge Sally G. Disco said Tuesday that allowing Timothy Curran to be a Scoutmaster would interfere with the Boy Scouts' freedom as a private organization to tell its members that homosexuality is wrong.The Irving, Texas, organization's national policy calls homosexuals poor role models.

Homosexual groups expressed outrage at the decision.

"It sends a horrifying message to kids that it's OK to hate gays and lesbians," said Torie Osborne, executive director of the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center.

The American Civil Liberties Union and Curran, a Los Angeles TV videotape editor and former Eagle Scout, said they would appeal.

"I am disappointed, but I will not give up my fight to have the same kind of opportunities as everyone else in this country and not to be judged differently because of whom I love," Curran said.

The ACLU said the decision was "wrong, both legally and morally."

"If the Boy Scouts claimed to espouse anti-Semitism, would that excuse exclusion of all Jewish Scoutmasters?" asked Jon Davidson, senior ACLU staff counsel.

George Davidson, the Boy Scouts' attorney, said he was confident the ruling would be upheld.