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SCOUT'S OATH

BREAKING: Officials Claim Boy Scouts Close To Ending Gay Ban

boy scouts THThe Boy Scouts of America are nearing a decision to end its decades-long ban on openly gay members and leaders, according to scouting leaders and outside sources familiar with the internal discussions:

NBC News reports:

The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts…The discussion of a potential change in policy is nearing its final stages, according to outside scouting supporters. If approved, the change could be announced as early as next week, after the BSA’s national board holds a regularly scheduled meeting.

Under the new policy, the BSA  “would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue,” said national spokesperson Deron Smith.

“The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents,” he continued. “Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs.”

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the BSA, claiming the private youth organization had a First Amendment right to discriminate against homosexual conduct as it was inconsistent with the values stated in the Scout oath, requiring scouts to be “morally straight.”

Last July, the BSA reaffirmed its gay ban after a two-year examination of its policies by a committee of volunteers. Amidst the subsequent public outcry, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney called for an end to the ban during the 2012 Presidential Election and the BSA  lost a number of sponsorships as well:

About 50 local United Way groups and several corporations and charities have concluded that the ban violates their non-discrimination requirements and have ceased providing financial aid to the Boy Scouts. An official of The Human Rights Campaign, an advocate for gay rights, said HRC planned to downgrade its non-discrimination ratings for corporations that continue to give the BSA financial support.

“It’s an extremely complex issue,” said a BSA official, who explained that other organizations have also threatened to withdraw their financial support if the BSA indeed drops the ban. “The beliefs of the sponsoring organizations are highly diverse.”

By:           Les Fabian Brathwaite
On:           Jan 28, 2013
Tagged: , , ,
  • 28 Comments
    • Wilbready
      Wilbready

      As an ex-Mormon and a scout leader and a gay man, I can tell you (from experience) that a gay man, though he may be closeted, has no sexual influence on the young men in his group. I cherish my scouting memories for the rest of my life. If the BSA wants to relax “it’s” policies, then I support them. The LDS church will never do that, and that’s fine, it’s their right.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 2:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rand503
      rand503

      I’ll believe this when I see it. The BSA has invested way too much political capital in the current policy to just walk away from it. I’m sure there are debates, but the BSA is still controlled by Mormons and other right wing groups opposed to gay rights. Plus, they won big on Dale v. BSA. To just walk away from that and now say that Dale was right would be a stab in the back to Scalia, the Mormons and all their supporters over the past 15 years.

      They know that if they reverse, lots of current supporters will withdraw their support, and that means their money. They’ve lasted this long with the ban, they will last many more years, so I don’t really see it.

      However, if they do announce this, it will be huge. The antigay forces will be sputtering about the betrayal, but it will be yet another big milestone. What that says is that you can even win at the Supreme Court level and get everything that you want, but eventually you can’t stop history and we will win in the end.

      It will be a mega-bash to their psyches.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alexoloughlin
      alexoloughlin

      Seems that money talks. All of those corporations withholding donations seem to be working. Keep it up I say.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 2:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • technicolornina
      technicolornina

      @rand503: Except that they’ve hit a tipping point. The ban now threatens to do more damage than offending the anti-gay groups would.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      The LDS have their nefarious fingers entwined in the scouts and that worries me more than gay scouts. I wouldn’t have a thing to do with the Boys Scouts of America. The Mormon sect is counterfeit and pernicious and has no archeological, nor historical basis. Run boys, before you’re wearing white shirts and thumping pretense. Merit badges won’t get you real estate on the planet Kolob.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 2:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/18/us/mormons-and-scouts-act-as-partners-in-molding-boys.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

      Title of NYT article:

      As Partners, Mormons and Scouts Turn Boys Into Men

      “Scouting fits in nicely with our spiritual goals,” said David L. Beck, president of the church’s Young Men organization, in an interview at the Salt Lake City headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. “We want our young men to be upstanding citizens and good husbands and fathers.”

      Jan 28, 2013 at 2:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • rand503
      rand503

      @1EqualityUSA: If the BSA does this, we know two things — that any mormon associated troop will not permit gays in any fashion, and if the BSA’s official policy is that gays can be “morally straight” (which I believe they will have to reverse themselves on this point), then the mormon’s will seek to create their own separate organization.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 3:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      Yeah, the “Ploy Scouts.”

      Jan 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      This doesn’t strike me as progress in any way. It’s akin to allowing the states to handle gay marriage. They can still espouse hate and discrimination but now just at a local level. The BSA regains sponsors without changing much of anything.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 2eo
      2eo

      @Wilbready: I’ve had just about enough of people using reality and life experience and facts to make a point.

      Facts have no place in the mormon church or anything associated with them directly.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 4:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt1961
      Matt1961

      @rand503:

      @rand503 I think they are taking the path of least resistance. They have a way to relax the ban without actually having to withdraw it completely. The Mormon church is a heavy hitter in the BSA. They have a huge impact on membership numbers and dollars in the areas they’re located, and they have developed a mirror program in the event that the BSA does allow Gays to participate. This new policy, allowing the Chartered Orgs to determine their individual membership policy might just defuse any talk of succession by the Mormon church and others, allowing them to practice what they they preach while doing the same for the BSA.

      I’m a gay man, was married, had kids, grew up in Scouting, earned my Eagle, became a scout leader, and I’m still a scout leader at the council level. I’m excited about this policy revision. I’m hopeful that in time the BSA will grow out of the shadow of the LDS church and all of the evangelicals that have kept the organization from making significant and necessary change to stay relevant.

      If this does take place, it would be significant and it should be supported by the gay community as a step in the right direction.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 4:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • FStratford
      FStratford

      @Michael:

      Dude, it is progress because unlike states deciding gay marriage, there can BR more than 1 scouting troop in a city. The open ones will prosper and the closed minded ones will die off for lack of funding and lack of membership (they will be regarded as the hateful scouts)

      Jan 28, 2013 at 5:07 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • SteveBmke
      SteveBmke

      Consider that most all of my gay friends in Milwaukee had their FIRST sexual experiences in Scouting…. at the public natatorium on men’s night (sans suits), during the paper drives in the back of the semi-truck, and most fun of all…the outdoor showers at the Indian Mounds campground during Summer camp…Scouting officials should wake up and smell the lube. Just as in the Priesthood and the Military, gay men are everywhere, but we especially like to be where there are no women. Duh. Hello Alaska!

      Jan 28, 2013 at 5:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      Not sure I believe it – just last week they told that troop in Maryland? that they had to remove their non-discrimination language by Jan 31 or be kicked out of the national organization. Now a week later they say they are close to lifting the ban? I think it’s wishful thinking on the part of some activists, otherwise they would have put a hold on forcing that troop to change its charter.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 5:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jmmartin
      jmmartin

      Now the way I heard this discussed on cable today the top Scouts-in-chief plan on making it a States’ Rights equivalent: leaving it up to what might be “community standards” corresponding to First Amendment arguments. That way, George L. LaGrange of Louisiana can find certain practices incompatible with Scouting, while Henry R. LaTouche of Los Angeles plans on discussing homosexuality as an integral part of Scouting. They are basically cow-towing to the far right Tea people and religious bigots in particular. Why not make it a national Scouting rule? Are they afraid that LaGrange might sue or break away and form his own Rectified Scouting program? Will it look like Federalism prevailed? How can they hold that annual Jamboree if queer people are known to be among them? I mean, how can I undress in privacy?

      Jan 28, 2013 at 6:15 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • DuMaurier
      DuMaurier

      @Aaron: It does seem like an abrupt turnaround, considering how recently they’ve reaffirmed the policy. But I don’t think we’d be hearing this now if it wasn’t going to happen. I think there probably have been discussions and debate going on under the radar in the organization.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 6:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Out Military
      Out Military

      FYI – http://OutScouts.com – the social network for gay scouts, is providing a supportive environment for gay scouts, leaders and supporters. Brought to you by the creators of OutMilitary.com – the gay military network.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 7:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • LadyL
      LadyL

      @2eo: LOL

      Jan 28, 2013 at 8:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Central5829
      Central5829

      Eagle Scout, 35 years as an educator, 16 of which is principal, and oh yes a father of two adopted boys out of foster care. I’ve been an upstanding citizen, good father, and being a husband to a female is not in the picture. My leadership formed in scouting awarded me my skills that I use to give back to the community.

      Jan 28, 2013 at 11:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Avenger
      Avenger

      So I guess next they’ll be letting straight men and boys join the Girl Scouts. Basically the same thing. Not everything is for everybody, nor should it be.

      Jan 29, 2013 at 2:08 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      a·venge
      /??venj/
      Verb
      Inflict harm in return for (an injury or wrong done to oneself or another): “his determination to avenge the murder of his brother”.
      Inflict such harm on behalf of (oneself or someone else previously wronged or harmed): “we must avenge our dead”.
      Synonyms
      revenge – retaliate – requite

      (Maggie Gallagher is coming from a pretty powerless place these days.)

      Jan 29, 2013 at 9:54 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Caliban
      Caliban

      Hey Avenger, how about you start working on that Merit Badge for STFU? Most scouts, like me, joined the BSA as “Cubs” in 2nd or 3rd grade. How many people know they’re gay in elementary school? Zero, or close to it. They join the organization, participate in Scouting events, do the same things as everyone else.

      If they like it they stick with the BSA through the Webelos (in some areas) and into the Boy Scouts, earning the same badges by putting in the same amount of work. Inevitably, some of those boys will discover as they grow older that they are gay. Nothing else about them has changed but suddenly they find they are now unwelcome so either they leave on their own or they’re kicked OUT of the Boy Scouts.

      The real issue was never really about letting gays INTO the Boy Scouts. Gays are already there because they joined as children like everyone else. They’ve done nothing to deserve being kicked out other than acknowledge their innate sexuality, so they’re being kicked out not for their actions but for a characteristic they cannot change. That’s called bigotry and bias which, last I heard, are not supposed to be Boy Scout values.

      Jan 29, 2013 at 10:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt1961
      Matt1961

      @Caliban:

      Well said Caliban

      Jan 29, 2013 at 11:53 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Cam
      Cam

      Oh please, they want to leave the discrimination in place, but they want to be able to try to tell their former sponsors that it is gone so they can get money.

      The major petitions etc… against companies funding the BSA has only been going on for a few months, and the group that fought FOR bigotry all the way up to the Supreme Court has already started to back down.

      Keep the pressure on. Either they adopt a policy against discrimination or keep the pressure on the companies that fund them.

      Jan 29, 2013 at 11:57 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Matt1961
      Matt1961

      This is a huge step forward. Each unit is ‘owned’ by a chartered partner, who may or may not be a religious institution, which may or may not accept gays. In scouting we teach that everyone has their own opinion and it’s ok if they do, it needs to be respected and hopefully your opinion is given equal respect. This will go a long way to living up to that tenet.

      I don’t think we should take this as a final step to removing obstacles in the BSA toward gay scouts and scouters, but I would hope that now we gay scouters can prove to those that are narrow minded that we are just as qualified to lead young boys to men, and that those young men will be what they will be (gay or straight) and our influence will only be in the quality of the man they will become and that we’re not ‘recruiting’ new gays in the BSA.

      Jan 29, 2013 at 12:13 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • 1EqualityUSA
      1EqualityUSA

      #22 Caliban–Fantastic insight. So true. Cam, it’s either adopt a non-discrimination policy across the board or don’t do it at all. I agree, keep pressure on. Also talk non-stop about how the Mormons are glomming onto the scouts as a warning to parents that their boys are susceptible to counterfeit teachings and possible coercion into a sect that is aggressively seeking youths.

      Jan 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Aaron
      Aaron

      The Scout Association of the UK, which is actually where BSA started, does not discriminate against gays. In fact, they stopped with the silly gender divide and allowed both boys and girls to be Scouts. There is a nice article from a female “Boy Scout” here:

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/emily-henry/confessions-of-a-girl-boy_b_1944421.html

      Jan 29, 2013 at 10:08 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ned_Flaherty
      Ned_Flaherty

      EVERYONE! Please submit 4 messages to the Boy Scouts in Irving, TX today. They’re going to vote shortly, and the religious right radio shows are bombarding them with hateful threats claiming that discrimination is necessary.

      Clear, short, and simple is best: “Dear Boy Scouts, Follow the successful leadership of the U.S. military and America’s biggest employers. CHANGE THE POLICY and stop using sexual orientation to ban people from Scout membership and employment.”

      phone: 1-972-580-2330
      e-mail: NationalSupportCenter@Scouting.org
      Web: http://www.glaad.org/node/61982/done?sid=34020
      Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=136693109828603&id=113441755297

      Jan 30, 2013 at 5:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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