The fight over the Scouts provided a noisy conclusion to weeks of generally cordial debate on the issue atop Bush's agenda.
Helms' amendment was triggered by last year's Supreme Court ruling that upheld a national Boy Scouts policy to ban gay members and leaders. He cited numerous examples in which local schools or school districts excluded Scouts from the use of facilities.
Helms said his amendment was meant to combat ``the organized lesbians and homosexuals in this country of ours.'' Democrats angrily denounced it, saying it would bind the hands of school boards trying to juggle access and Scout sponsorship with their states' anti-discrimination laws.
Boxer said the Scouts already were treated as other groups are and added: ``I believe this amendment is unnecessarily gratuitous. It is hurtful to a group of people. It divides us again in this country.''