Friday, July 17, 2015

Maybe, Just Maybe, the BSA Will Get It Right This Time


On July 27, 2015, the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay scout leaders may be lifted.  The resolution was approved by a 17-member Executive Committee last week and if ratified, will become official policy immediately.

This ban is a carry-over from May 23, 2013, when the BSA Council approved a half-measure that would allow openly gay scouts in troops into the organization, but ban gay Scout Masters. For more history, see my blogs on the topic http://www.straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com/Boy-Scouts-Take-Baby-Steps-for-Gay-Youth/2013/5/29/ and http://www.straightparentgaykid.blogspot.com/Boy-Scouts-of-America-Speaks-with-Forked-Tongue/ 2013/4/24/.

All Those In Favor Of Lifting the Ban

It is common for Eagle Scouts to become adult leaders when they turn 18 in the Boy Scouts of America whose enrollment in scouting is 24 million.

Former Secretary of Defense and President of the Boy Scouts of America Robert Gates said earlier this week that “we cannot ignore the social, political and judicial changes taking place in our country. We must deal with world as it is.”

With the Supreme Court legalizing gay marriage throughout the United States and various polls showing greater acceptance of the LGBT population, Boy Scouts should reflect these changes.

 A local troop in Converse, Texas has called on BSA “to reject the BSA anti-gay policy on adults.  A Change.org petition from that troop has 135,000 signatures.

Gaffe from Presidential Hopeful Scott Walker

Republican Governor Scott Walker, a former Eagle Scout, of Wisconsin recently expressed support for a ban on gay Boy Scout leaders because it “protected children.”  He later “covered his tracks” by clarifying that the decision on the ban of gay Boy Scout Masters was “up to the Boy Scouts.” He didn’t supposedly mean that children needed “physical protection” from gay scoutmasters, but rather protection from debate over the ban.

Over a decade ago, The American Psychological Association has dismissed the idea that gay people pose a threat to kids.  Yet this myth of the gay Scout Master as a pedophile has persisted.

Even Rob Schwarz-Walder, the spokesman of the Conservative Family Research Council, said in April 2013, “it makes no sense to have a different policy for youth and adults because men who become Scout leaders usually start out as scouts.”

Conditions In New Legislation

The prospective employees of the national organization could no longer be denied a staff position on the basis of sexual orientation.
Gay leaders who were previously removed from scouting because of the ban would have the opportunity to reapply for volunteer positions.
The new law would allow “wiggle-room” for religiously sponsored groups.  Many troops are sponsored by churches.  These would have exemptions.

Girl Scouts Have Always Seemed More Inclusive

The Girl Scouts of America have no rules against gay leaders.  In May, the organization announced that it would accept transgenders.  True to their beliefs, when a donor tried to give them a $100K donation if they would not help transgender girls, the Washington Girl Scouts refused the offer!