Boy Scouts propose ending gay ban

Under pressure over its long-standing ban on gays, the Boy Scouts of America is proposing to lift the ban for youth members but continue to exclude gays as adult leaders.
Associated Press
Apr 19, 2013

NEW YORK

The Scouts announced Friday that the proposal would be submitted to the roughly 1,400 voting members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas the week of May 20.

Gay-rights groups have demanded a complete lifting of the ban, while some churches and conservative groups want it maintained in its entirety, raising the likelihood that the new proposal will draw continued criticism from both sides.

Indeed, the BSA, in making its announcement, estimated that easing the ban on gay adults could cause widespread defections that cost the organization 100,000 to 350,000 members.

In January, the BSA said it was considering a plan to give local Scout units the option of admitting gays as both youth members and adult leaders or continuing to exclude them.

On Friday, the BSA said it changed course in part because of surveys sent out starting in February to about 1 million members of the Scouting community.

The review, said a BSA statement, "created an outpouring of feedback" from 200,000 respondents, some supporting the exclusion policy and others favoring a change.

"While perspectives and opinions vary significantly, parents, adults in the Scouting community and teens alike tend to agree that youth should not be denied the benefits of Scouting," the statement said.

As a result, the BSA's Executive Committee drafted a resolution proposing to remove the ban on gay youth while keeping it for all adult leaders.

"The proposed resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting," the statement said.

The BSA described its survey as "the most comprehensive listening exercise in its history."

In a summary of the findings, it said respondents supported the BSA's current policy of excluding gays by a margin of 61 percent to 34 percent, while a majority of younger parents and teens opposed the policy.

It said overwhelming majorities of parents, teens and members of the Scouting community felt it would be unacceptable to deny an openly gay Scout an Eagle Scout Award solely because of his sexual orientation.

Included in the survey were dozens of churches and other religious organizations that sponsor a majority of Scout units.

The BSA said many of the religious organizations expressed concern over having gay adult leaders and were less concerned about gay youth members.

Many Scout units are sponsored by relatively conservative religious denominations that have supported the ban on gays in the past — notably the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Southern Baptist churches.

The survey tried to gauge the proposal's impact on financial support. Local Scout councils said 51 percent of their major donors opposed easing the ban, while a majority of Fortune 500 companies supported a change.

Since January, the Scouts have come under intense pressure from activists and advocacy groups on both sides of the membership debate.

In Indiana, for example, there's an ongoing campaign demanding that the United Way withhold funding from the Scouts until the ban is lifted. In California, the state Senate is considering a bill aimed at pressuring the BSA to lift the ban by making the organization ineligible for nonprofit tax breaks.

On the other side, the conservative Family Research Council has been circulating an online petition urging the BSA to keep the ban. And in Utah, the Boy Scouts' Great Salt Lake Council — one of the largest in the country with 73,400 youth members — said a survey showed that more than 80 percent of its leaders opposed lifting the ban.

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Online:

Boy Scouts: http://www.scouting.org/

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Comments

gojuman

and America continues to fall apart

Grandpa04

thats a fact!!

starryeyes83

It's sad they caved into the pressure and it will continue with other organizations.

KnuckleDragger

Go ahead, calling tomorrow and all three of my boys will no longer be part of BSA. Maybe the less than 1% of the population who is gay can support them financially.

The Big Dog's back

Your name never fit better.

Cowboy

I'm pulling my son out also!

thomtom

Do you really think there are no gay people there now???

Lakerielife

Gay isn't a disease. Your kids won't catch it.

starryeyes83

I'm very thankful I don't have kids. But that's not my point. The Boy Scouts should not have been bullied. Why don't gay people start their own gay scouts?

happyfeet64

What exactly is it that makes you want to not associate with someone who is gay> Are you concerned your child may "become" gay themselves or is it you don't want to explain to your children that there are gays and lesbians and bisexuals and transgender people in the world? Or is it because of your religious views? Do you have a scenario playing out in your head that they are all pedophiles who are going to prey on your sons? Or that your sons are going to be recruited into some secret subversive society of gays? Do you have a genetic predisposition that causes you to burst into flames whenever you come in contact with a gay person? Why do people make this such a big deal? Did it ever occur to you that maybe just maybe the subject may never rear it's ugly head and your sons won't even know their fellow scout or leader is gay? Did you stop to think that they don't want their personal life broadcast to the populace because of the ridiculous views that people embrace so readily? And as others have pointed out- it is such a small percentage of kids and leaders that are gay and they are probably already in the BSA. then what difference does it make? I am so glad my children and grandchildren are not as closed minded and judgmental as some of the people I I read posts from. And people wonder why there's so much hatred in the world today. What an inheritence for our children.Sad.

Nemesis

Maybe people just don't want to muddle what they're trying to teach their kids about right and wrong.

I ardently support the legalization of ALL recreational drugs. However, I don't wish to associate with drug users, and I'm sure as heck not going to let my children associate with them and dilute my message that it's morally unacceptable.

Some people go to great lengths to keep their kids from associating with kids whose parents own guns. That's their right, no matter how much I support the 2nd Amendment.

This is America - last time I checked that meant we don't all have to believe the same thing, and we can raise our kids to believe different things as well. That also means we're free to create PRIVATE organizations for our kids to associate with the children of like-minded people.

The boy scouts were formed by people who believed certain conduct was wrong. Apparently, a lot of people find that belief backward and unenlightened. What puzzles me is why they don't feel able to start their own youth organization, i.e. why they feel incapable of achieving the same things that people they find backward and unenlightened can.

Erie County Resident

The gay community says they are loving and tolerant. Really?
What a joke.
So what part of bullying, extortion, threats, and harrassment is considered loving and tolerent on their part? These are the things they say are being done to them. The exact things they are doing to the BSA.
Just asking.

thinkagain

What this boils down to, is homosexuals are not comfortable with who they have chosen to be and through hate and intolerance, spit on a moral way/view of life.

The Big Dog's back

Really?

bored reader

Well said!

Kelly

I'll be enrolling my sons

timary

Come on people. so many scouts have gone through over the years and guess what? THEY WERE GAY! so what? I'm pretty sure they aren't at the meetings trying to convert your boys. Gay people are born gay just like straight people are born straight. They are who they are. The idea of excluding a child because of that is like excluding all red-haired children. STUPID

deertracker

Agreed!

44846GWP

The mouth breathers and bigots are out in force! Lets have just Black leaders for black Scouts and White leaders for white Scouts, straight leaders for straight scouts, and gay leaders for gay scouts. Seperate but equil, oh wait, that was tried once brfore in history. How about people just face the fact that people are people..gay, straight, bi, black, white, Asian, Indian. Get educated and do something positive with your life.

JACKEL

Yea,just go about your life and keep your crap out of my face.If you want to marry your dog don't parade down the street in uniform.I gave 4 years of my youth to protect that uniform, while others ran off to college or Canada like wooses!

Kelly

Huh?

bored reader

Yes people are people. You are born black, white, Indian, Asian etc. You are not born gay. It is a choice to have un-natural sex with the a member of the same sex. Period.
Gays want to play the discrimination card and they are not tolerant in any way. Sadly this country is allowing them to claim a status that is not theirs. Disgusting.

44846GWP

Bored reader, I'ts a "choice" to be gay? Really? Then it must be a choice to be straight. I don't remeber ever choosing to be straight. When did you decide, do tell us.

thinkagain

Scientists have been searching for decades for some distinguishing cause of homosexuality and have failed to find one. Get educated and do something positive with your life.

thinkagain

People who choose to be homosexual do not meet the definition of “race”. Get educated and do something positive with your life.

44846GWP

forgottothink: Tell us when you chose to be straight.

kURTje

Not proper. They can't tefeulhunden though.

shucks

tefeulhunden does not compute.

Pterocarya frax...

It is obvious the ban against gays in the BSA has worked for all these years, in spite of the fact that a ban on guns could never work.~

JACKEL

I don't think the gays want to make you a slave,like the government does by removing your ability to defend yourself.I have always been able to defend myself from gays in the military.You are now almost a slave already.Each and every day Bozo and Congress is passing laws to remove your freedom.What do we do,follow like sheep to the slaughter.

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