ONTD Political

Boy Scouts of America looks toward equality, considers lifting ban

11:21 pm - 01/30/2013


Monday, January 28, 2013 - 1:28pm by Brendan Davis, Digital Content Manager at GLAAD

News broke today that the Boy Scouts of America is "actively considering" an end to the policy that bans gay scouts and leaders. The decision follows a nearly yearlong campaign by GLAAD and Scouts for Equality, as well as Change.org petitions signed by more than 1.2 million people calling for an end to the BSA's ban on gay scouts and scout leaders.

BSA spokesperson Deron Smith released the following statement announcing the potential policy change:

For more than 100 years, Scouting's focus has been on working together to deliver the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. Scouting has always been in an ongoing dialogue with the Scouting family to determine what is in the best interest of the organization and the young people we serve.

Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.

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. 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.


NBC News reports that "the change could be announced as early as next week, after the BSA's national board holds a regularly scheduled meeting."

"The Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. "Scouting is a valuable institution and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect."

"This would be an incredible step forward in the right direction," said Zach Wahls, Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality. "We look forward to working with BSA Councils and chartering organizations across the country to end the exclusion of our gay brothers in Scouting, as well as the gay and lesbian leaders who serve the organizations so well."

"More than 1 million people have joined Change.org campaigns urging the Boy Scouts of America to end their national anti-gay policy, and today, those signers are celebrating a huge victory for people-powered change," said Mark Anthony Dingbaum, Senior Campaign Manager at Change.org. "Jennifer Tyrrell, Zach Wahls, and Ryan Andresen have proven that long-standing institutions of discrimination are no match for cutting-edge online tools and powerful storytelling."

"The pulse of equality is strong in America, and today it beats a bit faster with news that the Boy Scouts may finally put an end to its long history of discrimination," said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin. "Our nation and its leaders respect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, and it's time the Boy Scouts echo those values."


More of the article, which is essentially some recapping of different occurrences with the BSA and various troops, can be read at the source. Also, go here to show support via a call, an email, or a post on Twitter/Facebook! If you want it on your tumblr, boom, I got you. I'm so happy that all of the media attention and pressure has finally made a dent with them and that they do go forward & change their policy. C'mon, BSA!
zinnia_rose 31st-Jan-2013 08:16 am (UTC)
I certainly hope this happens, but I have to say I doubt it will. Aren't the Catholic Church and the LDS church strongly tied to BSA?
lone_concertina 31st-Jan-2013 02:46 pm (UTC)
It's looking like the organization itself will say they're "okay" with it, but it'll come down to individual units will be able to continue saying they can't be members/leaders. Since a huge majority of units are run by Catholic and LDS churches, it won't really change anything in the end.
postynotedreams 3rd-Feb-2013 04:31 am (UTC)
It's the best solution for now. The LDS will never change, but that's a non-issue since their units are largely "closed-shops." Non-believers are not banned exactly, but they are not made welcome because their units are run completely differently than other scouting units are tied heavily to church events. Most Catholic units are completely closed to those not members of that specific church congregation also.

Since the charter orgs own the units, it's appropriate they are allowed to make the choice. The hope is more secular and community groups will take up charters with this change.
callmetothejedi 31st-Jan-2013 12:52 pm (UTC)
I would love to see changes come to the BSA organization.
daf9 31st-Jan-2013 01:00 pm (UTC)
It's about frickin' time!
haveitall 31st-Jan-2013 02:15 pm (UTC)
Strange, just as the corporate sponsors start pulling out...
thecityofdis 31st-Jan-2013 03:38 pm (UTC)


Edited at 2013-01-31 03:39 pm (UTC)
redstar826 31st-Jan-2013 04:11 pm (UTC)
and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs.

translation: We are trying to get back our corporate sponsorships without actually forcing the bigots in our ranks to change a damn thing

strandedinaber 31st-Jan-2013 04:39 pm (UTC)
Yup.
crossfire 31st-Jan-2013 04:54 pm (UTC)
the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization's mission, principles, or religious beliefs.

"We'll still be a bigoted organization, just not officially."
wrestlingdog 31st-Jan-2013 04:56 pm (UTC)
Love that they gave Zach Wahls a shout-out.
pleasure_past 31st-Jan-2013 05:05 pm (UTC)
I'm happy about this for the sake of queer scouts, leaders, and employees, but to be honest I really just think the Boy Scouts are a shitty organization all around and wish people would just abandon them and join/found better groups rather than trying to make the BSA change. The BSA have been a breeding ground of all kinds of bigotry for a very long time and it just doesn't seem worth salvaging to me. But I'm just a girl, so what do I know?

Edited because what the fuck is an antecedent.

Edited at 2013-01-31 05:07 pm (UTC)
kyra_neko_rei 31st-Jan-2013 08:19 pm (UTC)
No shit. I've been hoping for awhile that their bigotries would create an opening for the Girl Scouts to poach away the stuff that was worth keeping and the better people among the organization, and become the Scouts, with the Boy Scouts dwindling to the sexist and homophobic strongholds that refuse to do any better.

Of course, as a former Girl Scout whose brother was a former Boy Scout, I have the bitterness that comes from watching a sibling get to do all the good stuff I didn't have access to because he was a boy and I was a girl and the two Scouting organizations weren't remotely comparable in my location.
tigerdreams 31st-Jan-2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
I remain unimpressed with this. Not only would this allow individual troops to continue to discriminate, but it only addresses part of their discrimination problem in the first place.
moonshaz 31st-Jan-2013 09:55 pm (UTC)
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. 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.

This part sucks, but I can still see this policy change being a very positive one. This is obviously a big step for this organization, and it's definitely a step in the right direction. No, it isn't going to take things ALL THE WAY to where they should be. But if this change goes through (and it sure sounds like it's going to), changes are going to start happening all over the place. As time goes on, these organizations that still want to continue banning gays will feel more and more pressure and eventually they WILL go the rest of the way, too--or die a natural death, as people leave their restrictive units for less restrictive ones.

To not support this policy change because it isn't absolutely perfect would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, imo.
redstar826 1st-Feb-2013 02:23 am (UTC)
To not support this policy change because it isn't absolutely perfect would be like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, imo.

I don't think anyone is actually saying that given a choice between this and keeping the current policy, that they would go with keeping the current policy. But, that doesn't make this change the best policy and we shouldnt pat our selves on the back like we've won and it's over.

and you make it sound like people are objecting to some minor thing rather than a major flaw...
moonshaz 1st-Feb-2013 08:52 am (UTC)
I didn't mean to imply it's a "minor thing." I was just under the impression (evidently falsely?) that some people thought this proposed policy change was totally worthless,and that's what I was responding to. If I misunderstood, I apologize.

I was also influenced by my astonishment at learning that the BSA is contemplating ANY kind of change in the direction of inclusiveness. I thought they were a lost cause, tbh. In that context, this seemed like a significant development, imho.

No, this doesn't go nearly far enough, and nobody's "won" anything yet. Not trying to suggest that. This is just the beginning. But it IS a beginning.

Edited at 2013-02-01 08:53 am (UTC)
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