BSA Decision on Gay Ban Postponed Until May
The Boy Scouts of America have faced turmoil in the past six months. After the Scouts in June had announced their intent to keep the gay ban in place, corporate companies including Merck & Co. and Intel Corporation pulled funding. Angry former scouts in disgust mailed their former badges. To show solidarity with expelled gay leaders, petitions with upward of 1,000 signatures were sent to BSA’s headquarters in Texas.
The proposal to allow the local groups that charter Scout units to create their own rules on gay membership had been on this week’s agenda for the executive board. This lame proposal caused rifts within the organization and would have placed a heavy burden on individual troops and chartering organizations. How do you decide whom to let into your troop? This is not a country club, but a 103-year-old iconic organization associated with morals, values, community service, and the American way. But its membership since 2000 has declined nearly 19%.
Under BSA’s new plan, members of its wider 1,4000-member national council will decide at the Scouts’ May annual meeting whether to change the policy. “After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.”
Religious Conservatives Think Lifting Ban will Entice Pedophiles Into Troops
Pat Robertson of Christian Broadcasting network thinks we’ll see “predators as Boy Scouts and pedophiles who will come as scout masters. Linda Harvey, President of Mission: America, says “gay scouts present a serious threat to straight scouts.”
Research Says Otherwise
To these notions, GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) sent an open letter to “concerned parents and educators” signed by one hundred experts from the fields of sex abuse prevention, psychology, social work, psychiatry, child advocacy, faith outreach, criminology, education, and coaching allaying the fears that children and minors will be less safe with gay men than they would be with straight men.
While every parent wants his child unharmed, danger lurks everywhere, not just in Boy Scout tents. Not just relegated to the playground anymore, pedophiles can be found in schools, the Internet, even in churches where they are protected and when caught shuffled to another diocese.
You can’t legislate homosexuality. There are already current and future gay Boy Scouts in troops. Studies have shown that it is not uncommon for straight teens to experiment with gay sex; it doesn’t mean their gay. Sexual experimentation might be going on in your house during teen sleepovers.
BSA Out of Sync with The Times
Lastly, America has evolved with Obama. Most Americans now support gay marriage, the Armed Forces ban on openly gay service members has been lifted, the Supreme Court is considering striking down DOMA, Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage between a man and woman. But the Boy Scouts has not kept up with the times. A Quinnipiac University poll done between January 30 to February 4th found that American voters, 55-33, percent say that the BSA should drop its ban on openly gay members.
I was a Girl Scout Troop Leader and we never had any of this divisiveness because the Girl Scouts of America is all-inclusive. I admire the Brooklyn troop leader who found a charter that would allow him to start an all-inclusive troop with both boys and girls.
Should the Boy Scout Drop the Ban? Post your comment here.
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.