Boy Scouts Consider Ending Policy Banning Gay Members and Troop Leaders

After years of resisting calls for it to drop its opposition to gay members and troop leaders, the Boy Scouts of America may finally — slowly — be changing its tune.

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Boy Scouts salute while listening to the national anthem

After years of resisting calls for it to drop its opposition to gay members and troop leaders, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may finally — slowly — be changing its tune.

The organization said Monday it was considering dropping its national policy on sexual orientation and leaving some of the decisionmaking to local troops, sponsors and families.

(MORE: Was a Boy Scout Denied an Award Because He’s Gay?)

“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents,” said BSA spokesman Deron Smith in a statement to TIME. “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.”

The group’s long-standing ban on gay membership, while it has faced several legal challenges, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2000 case. But the Scouts have come under mounting pressure on the issue in recent months. In October, Ryan Andresen, a then 17-year-old scout who had completed all the qualifications for earning his Eagle badge, learned from his troop leader that he could not be awarded the merit because he was gay. At the time, the Scouts released a statement saying that Andresen “did not meet the organization’s standard on sexual orientation” and was told he was no longer eligible for membership, prompting widespread condemnation. Earlier this month, after Andresen’s mother posted a Change.org petition in his support that got more than 468,000 signatures, local Boy Scout leaders approved his Eagle ranking, despite the judgment of the national organization.

Smith said the decision is likely to be discussed next week at the organization’s national executive board meeting, which will be closed to the public. If the ban is dropped, it would eliminate any national policy on sexual orientation within the Boy Scouts of America.

MORE: Eagle Scouts Return Badges in Protest of Gay Ban

MORE: Will Boy Scouts Reverse Anti-Gay Policy?

76 comments
albertodesignz
albertodesignz

To the churches and gay rights organizations this is a moral, civic and rights issue. Morally, I support the inclusion of gays. It is the preeminent civil rights movement of the 21st century. 60 years from now we will look at this like we look at segregation of the 60's today.

But this still doesn't deny the fact that to the BSA, this is a logistical, political and ultimately a survival issue.

Every scout troop and pack is 'owned' by their local charter organization, usually churches (70%) or community organization. Every bit of gear, every tent stake that the troop/pack has, is OWNED by the charter. If this is passed without a backup for support, they will CRUSH the BSA on a LOCAL level. The lives of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF BOYS will be directly effected.

I have yet to see or hear of an gay-friend community or non-profit organization that has publicly made an announcement stating that they will step up and support those that will be directly effected by the BSA recognizing homosexuals.

Let me ask the gay friendly churches and charitable organizations this:

Are you ready to take on those Packs/Troops that will be directly affected by their Charter organizations dis-owning them?

JohnLyke
JohnLyke

“The group’s long-standing ban on gay membership, while it has faced several legal challenges, was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in a 2000 case. But the Scouts have come under mounting pressure on the issue in recent months. In October, Ryan Andresen, a then 17-year-old scout who had completed all the qualifications for earning his Eagle badge, learned from his troop leader that he could not be awarded the merit because he was gay. At the time, the Scouts released a statement saying that Andresen “did not meet the organization’s standard on sexual orientation” and was told he was no longer eligible for membership, prompting widespread condemnation.”

In order for freedoms provided under the Constitution to be banned, there must be a palpable demonstration the offense in question is an endangerment to the individual or individuals concerned and that, as a result, the behavior must be curtailed and the freedom denied. There has to be a direct cause and effect relationship. In this case, fearing the unknown is no reason to deny an American citizen from exercising the freedom to enjoy all of the rights and privileges that being a scout provides the Boy Scouts of America.

TXdad
TXdad

Gay does not = pedophile anymore than straight = adulterer. And the BSA is NOT a faith-based organization; it owes its roots more to British (and later American) military traditions than anything else. I personally would welcome and enjoy working shoulder-to-shoulder with gay leaders and believe in treating all kids with the same care and devotion, regardless of any differences between them and myself. However, I don't think that scouting is the appropriate place for open discussion of sexuality or any other potentially-divisive or controversial issues. It's supposed to be about making friends, going camping, carving little cars, learning various skills, putting out fires, and other basics of boyhood. Childhood is too brief as it is and I'm for keeping Scouts free of the things that inevitably divide us later.

thomasvesely
thomasvesely like.author.displayName 1 Like

whilst i believe in equality, i would never, ever allow my children to attend.

true, not all gays are paedophiles,but, the ones who are do not wear badges to say they are.

PattyAnn
PattyAnn like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@tomxvesely  Actually most gays are not pedo's.  In fact, the overwhelming majority of gay men like grown men.  It's ignorant beyond belief for you to make a statement like that.  You do realize that straight men are pedophiles as well...and there are more straight people then gay people. 

Nowhere1111
Nowhere1111 like.author.displayName 1 Like

We may as well quit trying to convince the bigots posting here on their misplaced idea that this is a good change. It's kinda like like trying to convince the Taliban that women should be treated equally. A lost cause indeed. Every Eagle I know including myself, father brother, son, nephew are all pleased.

notgonnahappen
notgonnahappen like.author.displayName 1 Like

If the scouts want to allow this fine.. My kid won't be camping out with them.. I am not worried about gay troopers, but leaders is another story.. Take an alcoholic to a bar even if he resists he will be tempted.. Take a fat guy to a buffet, same thing.. Take a skiier to a mountain.. Temptation is there.. Am I supposed to trust that a gay man is alone with my kids and not at all attracted to them? Maybe that is the case for some, but I am not willing to find out.. If other parents are ok with it, well that's their decision..

PattyAnn
PattyAnn

@notgonnahappen  How can so much ignorance fit onto one single comment section.  Gay men like men,  gay men are not automatically pedophiles.  Gay men are not going to get drunk and want to have sex with boys in the same way that you as a straight man aren't going to get drunk and want to have sex with girls...I hope.  It's disheartening to learn you actually get to influence children..hopefully your child is smarter then you and won't become a bigot as well. 

OneWorld
OneWorld like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@notgonnahappenSo am I to understand by your logic all Den Mothers are going to be attracted to the pre-adolescent/adolescent boys of the troop? and Males involved in their daughter's girl scout troop will be attracted to the pre-adolescent/adolescent girls of the troop? So basically Only Lesbians and Straight Males should be the only adults allowed to participate a in Boy Scouts and Straight Females and Gay Men should be the only adults allowed to participate in Girl Scouts. Because is completely logical...

A randomly selected Gay Man has the same attraction to a child as the attraction YOU have towards children. Gay is not synonymous with pedophile. However, ignorance is synonymous with stupidity. 

hmmmmmm
hmmmmmm like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 4 Like

@notgonnahappen What about your children's teachers at school? Do you allow your daughter to be alone with male teachers? Son with female teachers? Perhaps we should begin placing students with their teachers/mentors into pairs with the least probability of any possible inappropriate sexual attraction. Female teaches with female students; male teachers with male students. Why stop there! Gay male teachers with the lesbian students and the lesbian teachers with the gay male students! Perfect!

sadotparker
sadotparker like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

In this day and age, with such a diverse population, how awful of some to promote discrimination due to ignorance. Though there are some, not all gays are pedophiles, just as not all Catholic priest s and college football coaches

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes

@sadotparker By the looks of it, "this day and age" is unfortunately gonna be long in leaving. People, you don't have to be gay to support human rights, though maybe it helps. Ask anybody who has ever been discriminated for this about how they feel (There are millions and they are all around you). And one more thing. Kids are NOT as stupid as you may think they are, even though so many 'grownups' try to keep them blind to reality.

TXdad
TXdad

If the Scouts choose to do this, which they've obviously already decided to do, the best thing for those who disagree with this stance to do is to vote with their feet and their wallets. Without the support of the many churches and Christians who have been instrumental in Scouting through the years, it will be a mighty quiet campout. I think this will mark the formation of another, new organization that is more in tune with strong Christian values and principles, and the old Boy Scouts will end up eventually requiring support from the federal government in order to stay afloat.

CivilrightsPatr
CivilrightsPatr like.author.displayName 1 Like

@TXdadyou wrote, " I think this will mark the formation of another, new organization that is more in tune with strong Christian values and principles..."

 That organization already exists. It's called the KKK.

TXdad
TXdad

@CivilrightsPatr @TXdad What a lame comment. The KKK? Is that seriously the most intelligent thing you could come up with?

Nowhere1111
Nowhere1111 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@TXdad You obviously have not been keeping up with all the sponsors who left because of this rule. Our the Eagle Scouts like myself who had quit donating etc etc. I feel sorry for your kids being brought up by a bigot.

TXdad
TXdad

@Nowhere1111 @TXdad No, I confess I haven't followed that news as closely as you perhaps have, but last time I checked it was local -- not Big Corporate -- support, that was the lifeblood of the Scouting program. Not just financial support but time, effort, volunteer hours, etc. UPS might be able to donate $10M but money alone won't help pitch tents, tend fires, and organize lame skits.

Oh, and no need to feel sorry for my kids. I'm no bigot, neither are they, and we love each other and have great fun together! So you can direct your sarcastic pseudo-sympathies elsewhere.

KatherynFisher
KatherynFisher like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

This issue needs to be settled for once and for all and stay that way and stop being revisited every few months in an effort to calm a vocal AMORAL MINORITY. This society needs to take a stand for strong moral values or abandon them entirely in which case society will be no better than those perverted individuals God sought to destroy with the flood. So eitherthe Boy Scouts as an organization has morals or they do not. Which is it going to be? I vote for stron moral values.

CivilrightsPatr
CivilrightsPatr like.author.displayName 1 Like

@KatherynFisherwrote, "This society needs to take a stand for strong moral value."  AGREED! Good strong American values like inclusion, non-discrimination and tolerance.

washdcblazin
washdcblazin like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@KatherynFisher These are YOUR moral values having nothing to do with God. The bible speaks nothing of homosexuality, and everything you speak so strongly about is HUMAN interpretation.

You'd be the exact same person 50 years ago screaming about the morality and the bible in reference to interracial marriage: http://elliottmusicdotcom.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/little_rock_integration_protest-19581.jpg

TXdad
TXdad

@washdcblazin @KatherynFisher The Bible "speaks nothing of homosexuality?" Uh, what unique version are you using? You must be one of them there Scientologists...

KatherynFisher
KatherynFisher

Morally Straight. Homosexuals are not morally straight! NEVER EVER forget that. I have a cousin who is a homosexual (to call them gay is a perversion of the word). We had been ot of touch for many years and had only recently reconnected. Wh...en the decision was made several months ago not to make any changes to the policy he was furious. He asked me then, "Why shouldn't we have ACCESS to young boys?" As a Daughter of former Boy Scout leaders, and sister of a former Boy Scout, as well as trained former Boy Scout leader and the mother of an Eagle Scout I was proud the organization I had grown up with had stood strong on this issue because I feel it is necessary to protect boys who are being encouraged to become homosexual in our society these days. I was also incensed at my cousin's comment: "Why shouldn't we have ACCESS to young boys?" It told me he represents the very danger from which young boys in our society need to be protected. Needless to say we are no longer on speaking terms. If the Boy Scouts ever changes this policy my family will NEVER have anything else to do with the Boy Scouting organization.

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes

@KatherynFisher YOU are not morally straight! Who the hell do you think you are to spout such shit? Haters like you are as crooked morally as can be and personally I think should be hounded to the ends of the earth into some little hole up the side of a cliff where you can maybe find something akin to scorched parchment that will help you lick your wounds and explain why nobody likes haters like you (besides other haters). 

Nowhere1111
Nowhere1111 like.author.displayName 1 Like

@KatherynFisher The Boy Scouts will be better off without Bigots like you. I earned my Eagle 47 years ago, my brother and dad before then, my son and nephew after that. I earned Wood badge as an adult leader, my brother the Silver Beaver AND .... we like this new rule!

aurora564
aurora564 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@KatherynFisher

And you think its better to have people like you in the Scouting community? I would hope not. We really don't need people like you shoving your ridiculous ideas down the throat of younger scouts that are more than capable of making their own decisions. Homosexuality is completely different than pedophilia. If you believe they are the same, please provide proof instead of blowing hot air.

I too am an Eagle scout and am gay. I had a great scoutmaster that happened to be my father. It wasn't long ago that I told him and he was fine with it. So are the other 100% of people that know. The vocal minority you speak happens to be over half the nation by the way. The number of people who are accepting of Gay people will keep rising as time goes on. So, I'm sorry to tell you that you are in the minority...not I. There is a reason the amount of Catholics in this world is dwindling. There is a reason the amount of gay rights is going up. There is a reason the Boy Scouts realized they made a mistake in their past decision. People are starting to see the light and let go of the past. 

I act the same way I did before I told people; with high moral standards. So, please tell me how I am "AMORAL"? I await your stupid answer..



Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/01/28/boy-scouts-consider-ending-its-policy-banning-gay-members-and-troop-leaders/#ixzz2JKWhZthM

TXdad
TXdad like.author.displayName 1 Like

@aurora564 @KatherynFisher 
With belligerent, disrespectful comments like "... blowing hot air" and "I await your stupid answer" it's hard to believe you were ever an Eagle Scout. Respect and courtesy for others, regardless of how you feel about their opinion, have always been fundamental to the ideals of Scouting.

You may have earned the badges but I think you missed the whole point.

aurora564
aurora564 like.author.displayName 1 Like

 @TXdad

And the opinion, as you call it "Homosexuals are not morally straight! NEVER EVER forget that. I have a cousin who is a homosexual (to call them gay is a perversion of the word)".....ya I agree with you. The 'opinion' is not belligerent or disrespectful at all.....give me a break. 


Yep those comments are really friendly, courteous, and kind. I didn't miss any point of Scouting due to these types of ignorant 'opinions' not being present. 

You're right, I was not once an Eagle Scout....I am an Eagle Scout. Please stop whining.


Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/01/28/boy-scouts-consider-ending-its-policy-banning-gay-members-and-troop-leaders/#ixzz2JN22WzDx

general357bcd
general357bcd like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

I have spent seven years as a cub scout leader our charter is in a church  one that I belong too but myself as well as my church will be unable to support scouts and our charter will cease to be.

the cub scout pldge states to God and my country a princple and a fact in which scouts was founded on the Bible speaks against gay and lesbians.

As a friend of mine put it God destroyed a entire country over this issue

OneWorld
OneWorld like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@general357bcd The Boy Scouts of America represents 38 different faith groups, so firstly the definition of God depends on your religious affiliation seeing as not everyone is Christian and our national religion isn't Christianity because we don't have a national religion. 

Secondly, the bible has been retold and rewritten over thousands of years and rewritten at least 450 times in a time when homosexuality wasn't a word (irregardless the act of homosexuality was not condemned) because it was written in Latin then old , then early middle, then middle and finally a version of modern English so it's highly unlikely that the "original" Bible (if there is such a thing) ever referred to homosexuality. 

Also the version of the Bible that is most read is the King James version, which was, well, constructed by a King who told his scribes to change parts of the bible and burn the certain pages of the "original" bible, so that he could abuse his power as a King by claiming he was in direct correspondence with God. 

Maybe you should learn a bit about something, instead of paraphrasing a book you pretend to know and follow.

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes like.author.displayName 1 Like

@OneWorld @general357bcd How about stopping all the reliance on this bible stuff. You can't prove one single word of it. Of all the religions on earth you have the gall to put yours on top (just because you lived with it your whole life). LOL. Humanity wants more than religious fantasies thousands of years old. We need an update. When the bible or science can give us a 'rational' explanation which can be 'proven' scientifically of : 1. What homosexuality is. 2. Why is it here? 3. Where did it come from (origin)? we could all breathe a little easier because we'd have FACTS instead of (religious) bigotry to ponder. And since people have simply been 'born' that way throughout history, it IS a natural occurence.

TXdad
TXdad

@WilliamBarnes @OneWorld @general357bcd You must have FAITH confused with SCIENCE. Two different things, bro'. I doubt any believer would claim to be able to prove the validity of the Bible or existence of God. Even the Bible doesn't claim that about itself! Just because something can't be proven doesn't mean it isn't true. Thousands of years of bad science have already proven that.

LenaSmithe22
LenaSmithe22

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Hollywooddeed
Hollywooddeed

I'd have no problem with my kids scouting with gay kids. My worry would be with the pedophile troop leaders and the ensuing cover-up.

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes like.author.displayName 1 Like

@Hollywooddeed Yes, the 'rotten apple syndrome' as occurs in every other group would probably occur here, too, which doesn't mean that the whole gay troop leader barrel  should be discarded. The pedophiles will have to be weeded out and dealt with for the sick criminals they are.

hawki
hawki like.author.displayName 1 Like

As we all know, the Boy Scouts have been around for a long time and are a private organization supported to a great extent by religious groups. Why those not involved feel it necessary to compel the Boy Scouts to change their position doesn't really make sense. Those involved as members or leaders knew from the outset the stand that the Boy Scouts had on all issues. Those homosexual den mothers or troop leaders or boys knew what the Scouts stood for and they simply ignored it - hoping, I guess, to change the rules by coercion. Why not simply start the Gay Boy Scouts? Or why limit it to boys? Just start the New Scouts - a place where boys can be boys (and not), girls can be girls (and not) and boys can be girls and girls can be boys. What's the problem with that?

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes

@hawki Maybe you didn't get it but we're talking about EQUALITY AND HUMAN RIGHTS, here. not superficial topics, like the favorite toothpaste or ice-cream flavor of the organization. As long as public organizations have the right to 'pick and choose' members, because of fear of something they don't understand (even in themselves) they continue to be bigot oriented.

hawki
hawki

@WilliamBarnes

I don't agree at all. This is not about equality and human rights. This is about homosexuals targeting a traditional, established group of boys for the purpose of propagating their movement.  Again, if you look at any medical research done on the diseases and conditions which lesbians and gay men suffer, you quickly realize that this idea that these people are engaged in natural activity is simply wrong biologically.

TXdad
TXdad

@Nowhere1111 You must be very easily amazed. And while you accuse hawki of being uninformed and ignorant of facts, you offer none in return... just your own opinion. If you are so sure cite your sources.

Nowhere1111
Nowhere1111

@hawkI It's AMAZING how uninformed you appear to be! 1- The gays are not targeting - LOTS of us are NOT gay and endorse this change for equality! 2- medical research ... simply wrong biologically??? That is grossly ignorant of FACTS. Obviously, you're reading 'church' doctrine or selected medical evidence. Very sad!

hawki
hawki

@WilliamBarnes 

They certainly are trying to propagate their movement and agenda. They won't reproduce and they won't be able to convert adult males, so their only option is to target the young - it is the only way their movement can continue (propagate).

WilliamBarnes
WilliamBarnes

@hawki @WilliamBarnes Who's getting targeted here are gays, not the Boys Scouts of America. gays are not trying to 'propogate' a movement. "Again, if you look at any medical research done on the diseases and conditions which lesbians and gay men suffer, you quickly realize that" they're the same diseases and conditions that 'straights' suffer from. Just prove what you are trying to defend. If it's 'biologically wrong' explain this............Get off the 'Holy Roller's' barge before it sinks with you on it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_animals_displaying_homosexual_behavior


JoshStyles
JoshStyles like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@hawki

How do you know it was not a younger generation demanding internal change.

Why did whites feel it was neccesary to compel the private Montgomery Busline to allow blacks equal seating. Those blacks knew there place, that they had to be treated unequally. Bur the Rosa Parks ignored it, hoping to coerece the bua company to change there practices. Why cant those uppity blacks just know there place in society.

-Sent from hawki grandfathers mind.

hawki
hawki

@JoshStyles

If it is a younger generation so be it. If it is internal to the boy scouts, let the boy scouts deal with it as they see fit. If the younger generation is not in the boy scouts they don’t have a legitimate voice it seems to me.This is not in any way equivalent to the issue with civil rights for black Americans, in the least because blacks had no choice but to be here and to be black. I don’t believe Martin Luther King Jr. saw homosexuality as a civil right or as a natural condition. His daughter has certainly spoken for him in that regard. Also, though I won’t take up space here, if you look at any medical research done on the diseases and conditions which lesbians and gay men suffer, you quickly realize that this idea that these people are engaged in natural activity is simply wrong biologically. The Boy Scouts have a right to their tradition and to continue it without outside coercion.

TXdad
TXdad

@aurora564 Really, it doesn't. Your personal sexual orientation and feelings or lack of self-worth are none of my business. Which is exactly how I feel about this issue. No one should feel the need to be able proclaim or promote their own sexual values upon young children in a group setting. There are other forums for doing so and Boy Scouts was never intended to be that setting.

aurora564
aurora564

  @TXdad

Does it really matter to you one way or another? Please don't ask if you don't care.


aurora564
aurora564 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@hawki @aurora564


Ya, Ya, I know.. I'm such an abomination...might as well take me out back and stone me to death. After all, all 9 million of us homosexuals chose this lifestyle...some of us hide our sexuality so that we do not have to deal with people like you...or worse off get beaten or killed. 

I happen to be an Eagle Scout. Luckily, there was nobody in the troop like you that would try and make me feel as though there is 'something wrong with me' or that I can be 'cured'. I have met so many people in my life that used to think in the way you do. After finding out I was gay, they "saw the light" so to speak and believed me when I said this is not my choice. This is because I am flesh and bones standing before them and someone who is just like everybody else. Not the Christ they have never met nor have proof exists. I have absolutely nothing against the belief in Christ, God, or religion in general.

If you want to believe what you read in the bible, have at it. But don't turn around and tell me I chose this life and deny me the same rights you have. Also, please tell me in what way do homosexuals affect your life in a negative way.?



Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/01/28/boy-scouts-consider-ending-its-policy-banning-gay-members-and-troop-leaders/#ixzz2JKLdFwn7

hawki
hawki

@aurora564

Well, sir/madam - I'm sorry to have offended you, but I did speak the truth and you, unfortunately are not well informed. However, you did say that you would do anything not to be gay, if you had a choice. I respectfully suggest, sir/madam, that you do have a choice. Begin by opening up the New Testment to one of the 4 Gospels (John, Mark, Luke, Matthew) and begin reading - with sincerity. At some point you will want to ask Christ into your life and ask Him to make you whole and new and reborn. You will confess to Him your mistakes and he'll forgive you and will give you the strength to overcome temptation. That is all you have to do.

aurora564
aurora564 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@hawki @JoshStyles

Ha! "This is not in any way equivalent to the issue with civil rights for black Americans, in the least because blacks had no choice but to be here and to be black."

Wow, I would do anything not to be gay, if I had a choice. But unfortunately its genetics.  That is a very ignorant and uneducated comment. Next time please don't sound so stupid. 


Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/01/28/boy-scouts-consider-ending-its-policy-banning-gay-members-and-troop-leaders/#ixzz2JK0xbTgo

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