Thumbs Up for Gay Youth in Boy Scouts, Thumbs Down for Gay Leaders?

Posted by MK on Apr 19, 2013 @ 12:39 pm
Boy Scout Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The Boy Scout Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Breaking news: In a surprising (and strange) move, the Boy Scouts of America is reportedly considering a policy to allow gay youth but not gay adult leaders.

According to the Washington Post and other sources, a resolution proposed by the national organization—which still needs to receive approval at a May meeting of national council members before going into effect—provides that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” The new rules would still ban adult leaders “who are open or avowed homosexuals.”

The proposed change is both broader and narrower than the proposals that received public attention over the last several months.

It is broader because it would appear to prohibit discrimination against Scouts on the basis of sexual orientation nationwide, rather than leaving the question to local chapters. It is narrower because it would maintain the nationwide exclusion of adult leaders, rather than, again, leaving that question to local chapters.

Press reports indicate that the Scouts changed their approach to the issue in part because of responses to a recent survey of Scout members.

It’s unclear how the Scouts will rationalize this half-measure, if it is approved. In official documents and in litigation, the organization has defended its national exclusion of gay Scouts and leaders by asserting its belief that homosexuality is neither “morally straight” nor “clean.” (Scouts must be “morally straight” and “clean” to participate.) So under the new policy, does homosexuality render somebody immoral and unclean if he is an adult, but not if he is a youth? What’s the thinking (if any) behind that exactly?

The story is rapidly developing. Stay tuned for updates.

[FIRST UPDATE: Read the proposed resolution here.]


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6 thoughts on “Thumbs Up for Gay Youth in Boy Scouts, Thumbs Down for Gay Leaders?

  1. Cole

    There is a very simple solution to all of this nonsense- get off the bus! Don’t pay the fare! Boycott the BSA. The attention needs to shift from “Poor Papas” who can’t lead their son’s scout troop to “Your little boy can be a BIGOT, too! Join the BSA!” aimed at the hetero moms and dads across America. Understanding and compassion has crossed the threshold as the push for equality is now a mainstay in close to three-quarters of American homes. All of these straight parents need to be reminded, again and again, what it is exactly the BSA stands for. When the troops have dwindled down to middle-age men in Scout uniforms attempting to relive the “good ole days” of their own youth but with no children to lead, the BSA will be forced to change or forced to close.

  2. Pingback: The Boy Scouts' Policy on Gays: Questions and (Some) Answers

  3. Warren

    They are NOT going to provide strong gay men as role models and allow gay youth so they can continue to shame them into hating who they are? I think this is a step backwards not forwards. If they, or make that when they, fail to change those young homosexuals by the time they turn 18 they will then give a final insult that you are no longer welcome here because we were unable to correct your moral failings. I don’t see how that’s better!

  4. Gina

    The half-measure seems to reflect the false idea that homosexuality is a choice, and that maybe by allowing gay kids the BSA has access to them to help “straighten” them out before becoming adults.

    I want to say, “Yay, it’s a start,” but leaving out gay leaders still sends the youth the message that there is something inherently wrong with them. A gay scout can be a scout and learn all these skills, but once he is an adult, he’s suddenly “unclean” and can’t share those skills. That’s not a way to build confidence in the youth.

    1. Floridahank

      There is a huge potentially legal problem involved. Say that a scout group knowlingly admits a homosexual adult male into its group and sometime later, the gay is accused of molesting a youngster — don’t you think the parents of the youngster will sue the scout group for knowlingly admitting a homosexual adult into the group? The organization has to be mindful of the possibility of a huge financial suit they could incur. Today sexual abuse is rampant and organizations have to be cognizant of any legal repercussions. Something to think about.

      1. Gina

        “…don’t you think the parents of the youngster will sue the scout group for knowlingly admitting a homosexual adult..?” — You’re right, they would especially if they thought homosexuals and pedophiles were the same thing. One “little” detail, though: homosexual and pedophile are two different things.

        Have there been gay pedophiles? I’m sure there have. Have there been straight pedophiles? Many. Many. Many. Should the BSA, then, not hire straight leaders, either?

        Now, the parents have every right to sue if the scout group admits a person with a history of child-molestation or if the BSA hides reports of molestations in their “perversion files.”

        I appreciate the consideration you’ve given to parents including me. I’m sad that people still get gay and pedophile mixed up and believe they are synonymous . It’s not enough to justify prejudice against innocent people. Open communication and education about molestation is key to prevention.

        (I’m an LDS mom with 2 sons: 13 y.o. Life rank, and a 7 y.o.)


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