Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Vermont Scout Leaders Earn Their Merit Badges



Boy Scouts of America’s Green Mt. Council More GLBT-Friendly

Recently, the BSA reaffirmed its decision to ban openly homosexual members and leaders from its organization. This policy offended President Obama, and presidential nominee Mitt Romney as well as Vermont’s Green Mountain Council. BSA, which is supposed to stand for democracy, inclusion, and leadership, has many Americans upset. Protests have been staged: from letters and Eagle Scout badges being mailed to BSA headquarters, to expelled gay and lesbian scout leaders getting petitions signed for reinstatements. In its own quiet way, The Green Mountain Council has protested.

History of Green Mountain Council’s Objection

After the national Scouts won a Supreme Court case in 2000 allowing the BSA to impose the ban, Scout Executive Edward McCollin, head of the Scouts’ Green Mountain Council, his state’s organization, released its own nondiscrimination policy in 2001 in reaction to the ban. The Green Mountain Council, as an executive board created their own policy based on what Vermont citizens were comfortable with, without going against the national Boy Scouts of America’s policy, according to McCollin.

Similar to the policy of The Girl Scouts of America, the policy at “The Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America, does not inquire into the sexual orientation of existing or prospective members, youth or adult.” When asked if McCollin agrees with the national policy, he said,” that’s not my place. My job is to help young people develop leadership skills. I’m not going to make a call on that.”

Vermont is Progressive 

With the first recycling law, and the first state in 2000 to introduce civil unions for same-sex couples, it is no wonder that Vermont initiated its own play-by-my-rules policy. After all, since the repeal of DADT, if a GLBT marine or any military member can serve, why can’t a gay boy scout?

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