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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Follow David Crary on Twitter: http://twitter.com/CraryAP

 

Comments

Nemesis

Coaster, it has nothing to do with equal rights. One of our rights is freedom of association, and this is a private organization.

thomtom

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).

deertracker

Agreed!

themomx6

coasterfan.............so someone who disagrees with YOU is not a "true American"? Got ya!

JohnDorian12

That's what gay people think...if I simply refuse to agree with their lifestyle I MUST be a white Christian radical instead if a person who also has the right to MY own opinion, such hypocrites....the only someone is not hateful is IF they agree with you hmmm who does THAT sound like???

arnmcrmn

coasterfan is a bust on here and most likely in life. If you don't agree with them, they just try to tear you apart on this form. I mean how weak is that. Lame too.

Informed

Goofus, Girl Scouts is open to every girl. No is denied because of anything, including sexual orientation. Girl Scouts does not discriminate. Period.

goofus

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Off-topic comments.

JohnDorian12

Can we not keep ANYTHING sacred???? No way thi passes!!! What's next? Should they allow girls in the boyscouts too?? What a joke

Kottage Kat

Then it will be the bi-scouts

Sitting In The ...

To all of you that oppose this i have a question, could they do any worse then the multiple priest who were molesting children? or because that's a church it doesn't count? You people are ignorant getting obsessed about stupid things when we could be focused on more important issues.

goofus

Great, a bunch of boys being taught how to throw a baseball by the guy in the VW Passat commercial.

The Big Dog's back

You've got a lot nerve talking about gay people when your news source, Jim Hoft, is gay.

SamAdams

Do I think homosexuality is evil? No. Do I think it's a "choice?" No (and don't weigh in on THAT one until you've had to watch the utter agony of a loved one dealing with the issue — NOBODY "chooses" that!). Do I approve of banning homosexuals from groups? No, just as I don't approve of denying membership to non-whites, non-males, etc. BUT THAT'S NOT THE POINT!

The Boy Scouts is a private organization that should be able to determine its own membership qualifications. It's a private organization that should be able to determine its own rules and codes of conduct. My approval or disapproval (and, frankly, yours!) is immaterial.

For the record, I stopped supporting the Boy Scouts years ago because of the group's stance on homosexuality and atheism. But I never, not even once, demanded that it "change or else." Work to change minds? Sure! Demand it or force it? Perish the thought! What I find far more appalling than any Scouts criteria is the virtual absence of tolerance from the so-called OTHER side of the fence! That the Scouts were effectively forced into a decision (one which is making pretty much EVERYbody mad, by the way) is the absolute antithesis of freedom or tolerance or any OTHER word some lobbies like to spout.

Don't like the Scouting credo? Don't join. Want your kids to be a part of some Scout-like group? Find one or form one. Forcing others to adhere to YOUR beliefs, even if you're right? Well, that's just wrong.

The Big Dog's back

The KKK was/is a private organization, does that mean they don't have to abide by the Constitution also?

S w Rand 2016

I imagine the KKK is not in the position to decline Gay people from membership. They probably need everyone they can get in this day and age.

Wait, why are we talking about this again? In what way were the Boy Scouts violating the Constitution?

SamAdams

The KKK DOES abide by the Constitution. First Amendment? Freedom of association? Hello?

Regrettably, yes, I support the KKK's existence as much as I (also regrettably) support the Muslim Brotherhood and the like. Where I draw the line is when constitutionality is LEGITIMATELY crossed, and that's when the rights of others are violated.

For example, if you want to sit in a room and talk about how black people or Christians are inferior, that's appalling but doesn't actively infringe on anybody else's rights. When you decide to burn crosses on other people's property, though, or set off bombs at the Boston Marathon, neither your "freedom of association" nor your "freedom of religion" trumps the crime.

Again, I'm all for working to change MINDS. What I'm NOT for is making a given mindset a criminal act. Consider that for a minute. REALLY consider it. And then answer this: Do you truly wish "thought crime" to be a crime? And if you do, who decides what thoughts are criminal, and how might those definitions evolve or change over time or with the beliefs of whoever's in charge of defining those crimes at any given moment? Even more threatening to those Constitutional rights you pretend to defend: How do we KNOW what somebody's thinking, eh?

happyfeet64

Thumbs up Sam Adams :)

Nemesis

No, dog, they DON'T. The Constitution is a document outlining the limitations on what GOVERNMENT may do. They are not the government (thankfully.) If you don't like the way an organization is run, form your own the way you want it.

Look at the history of religion for how this should be handled. Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Joseph Smith - when they disagreed with the existing church, they went off and former their own.

getreal08

SO IS THE BLACK PANTHERS

thinktwice

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc..

Pterocarya frax...

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc..

The Big Dog's back

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Profane, obscene, sexual or derogatory language.

mikel

Please don't cave! Do not let them push their agenda on you.

Let them start their own and they can call it homosexuals of America.

Darkhorse

How can a parent trust that when he sends his child to boy scout camp that the counselors won't harm your child? How can the Boy Scouts of Amercica even begin to defend themselves if their should be a lawsuit against one of the counselors? How could a parents live with themselves knowing that there is a possiblity of something happening to your child? The only recourse is better to be safe then sorry and opt out and not send your child to this organization.

SamAdams

No parent could trust with 100% certainty that, when he sends his child to Scouting camp, his child will be safe. I'd also point out, however, that homosexuals are neither more nor less likely to be pedophiles than are heterosexuals. That particular straw man is a very scary one, but it's still just a straw man.

Nemesis

It's not a straw man Sam. It's called a statistical preponderance. Does the correlation demonstrate causality? No, but it doesn't have to in order to have predictive value. That principle is the basis for the entire gambling industry.

SamAdams

You're right. Correlation DOESN'T equal causality. Still, too bad for you there's no obvious correlation, ain't it?

http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/ra...

Nemesis

There's a huge correlation with actual reported incidents, the majority of which are same sex. The reference to which you link is a bunch of ivory tower academics in the field of psychology (a pseudo-science) desperately clinging to the "no true Scotsman" argument to claim that all those people molesting kids of their own gender don't count. This despite the fact that they consistently chose victims of their own gender, when both were available, at the cost of increased risk and effort due to social stigma and receptive targets being a 1-3% minority. These pseudo-scientists would have us believe that was all totally random, rather than preference-based.

happyfeet64

You ,unfortunately take that chance anytime you send your child out of your front door-whether it's to school or camp or the Rec. Center or your local church- anywhere! Not just the BSA-pedophiles exist on every level of our society, they are predators BUT homosexual men or women are NOT pedophiles! Read and educate yourself before you throw out misinformation. Psychologically, a pedophile is seeking control and humiliation of the victim-the same as a rapist. Although,both involve sexual behavior,neither is solely about the sex act. To lead others to believe otherwise is irresponsible at the very least. I personally support equal rights for everyone but I do agree that discrimination that has been present in our society cannot be overcome through bullying,namecalling or intolerance of others and their opinions. The only way to move forward is education of the reasons behind the discrimination. Boycotting, nonviolent protests,etc. are a step but pushing your referendum down someone's throat will not change their way of thinking,so on alot of levels I do agree with some of the posts. As the Christian Bible suggests that if you lead a godly life then you are more likely to lead others to God. Actions ALWAYS speak louder than words.

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