Boy Scouts reaffirm ban on gays
by David Crary, AP National Writer
July 17, 2012 11:59 AM | 1496 views | 29 29 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print

NEW YORK (AP) — After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by some critics.

An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, "came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts," the organization' national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.

Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.

As a result of the committee's decision, the Scouts' national executive board will take no further action on a recently submitted resolution asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.

The Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, contended that most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both leaders and Scouts.

"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," Mazzuca said. "We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

The president of the largest U.S. gay-rights group, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, depicted the Scouts' decision as "a missed opportunity of colossal proportions."

"With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued," he said. "They've chosen to teach division and intolerance."

The Scouts did not identify the members of the special committee that studied the issue, but said in a statement that they represented "a diversity of perspectives and opinions."

"The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations — both from within Scouting and from outside of the organization," the statement said.

The announcement suggests that hurdles may be high for a couple of members of the national executive board — Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson — who have recently indicated they would try to work from within to change the policy. Both of their companies have been commended by gay-rights groups for gay-friendly employment policies.

Stephenson is on track to become president of the Scouts' national board in 2014, and will likely face continued pressure from gay-rights groups to try to end the exclusion policy. Asked for comment on Tuesday about the Scouts' decision to keep the policy, AT&T did not refer to Stephenson's situation specifically.

"We don't agree with every policy of every organization we support, nor would we expect them to agree with us on everything," the company said. "Our belief is that change at any organization must come from within to be successful and sustainable."

A statement from the executive committee of the Scouts' national executive board alluded to the Turley-Stephenson developments.

"Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting," the statement said. "While not all board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization."

Since 2000, the Boy Scouts have been targeted with numerous protest campaigns and run afoul of some local nondiscrimination laws because of the membership policy.

One ongoing protest campaign involves Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio mother of a 7-year-old Cub Scout who was ousted as a Scout den mother because she is lesbian.

Change.org, an online forum supporting activist causes, says more than 300,000 people have signed its petition urging the Scouts to reinstate Tyrrell and abandon the exclusion policy. The petition is to be delivered to the Scouts' national headquarters in Irving, Texas, on Wednesday.

___

Online:

Boy Scouts of America

 

Comments
(29)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
Dr KJV
|
July 20, 2012
Take a look around my friends. We live in the times of Noah and Lot.
Too funny
|
July 18, 2012
So you have a choice.

You can either support an agenda of intolerance and bigotry and say your Bible or Koran gives you that authority, or you can support an agenda that is not judgmental which values diversity and say that human decency gives you that authority.
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
well said
Dr KJV
|
July 20, 2012
@Too funny

Your christophobic views are in opposition to your stand in favor of the gay community. You cannot express bigotry against Christians and the scouts, then turn around and claim gays are the victim. Make up your mind.
Too funny
|
July 20, 2012
define christophobic (it's not in the dictionary)

Nonetheless, by your warped logic, the civil rights movement was bigoted for wanting to end Jim Crow and women's suffrage was bigoted for wanting to give women the right to vote.
Dr KJV
|
July 20, 2012
@Too funny

The hypocrisy and of your hateful christophobic remarks tell us that your bigotry has two definitions, and you use whichever is convenient to bolster your remarks. Explain to us how your bigotry can have two diametrically opposed definitions?
Too funny
|
July 20, 2012
So let me get this straight; I'm "hateful" and bigoted because I think discrimination is a bad thing and that treating all people fairly is a good thing? mmmmk.
anonymous
|
July 18, 2012
How SAD!!!!
Call It Like It Is
|
July 18, 2012
Man I love it. The comments below just brought our who is the hater and whos not. The scouts are an independent, private group with their own morals, standards and beliefs. Its not a secret and if you don't agree with them don't join them. Evil, bigot? NO. More like trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, clean and reverent.
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
also....intolerant, homophobic, discriminatory and not too long ago...racists.
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
The Boy Scouts will survive without my financial support and they will have to as I will no longer give them anything. I do not knowingly support organizations that deliberately discriminate against others. I am not arguing their "right" to do so, I am saying it is NOT right to do so.
One Way Street
|
July 18, 2012
Someone wrote that the Boy Scouts "continue to be so narrow minded and evil." That is saying unless people believe as you do, it is the highway. I also am against gays. I believe it is in my Bible. Why am I narrow minded and evil because I have different beliefs than yours? Boy Scouts has just as much right to believe what they believe as your Rainbow Coalition does. If not, why not?
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
Your Bible says lots of things that I'm absolutely certain you aren't aware of and would not agree with if you were. But, let me say this...Jesus never said one word about gay people. And, the only time it is written that he expressed anger was with money changers. You misunderstand the point. Did Hitler's beliefs included his right to persecute Jews... Did he morally have that right...NO. Whhite Southerns held the belief that to discriminate against blacks was OK for a hundred years...Was this belief right...NO.Many beliefs are simply wrong and to practice them is worse.
Too funny
|
July 17, 2012
Well, this makes it easier for scouts to earn their Bigotry Badge I guess...wonder if it's shaped like a swastika (yeah, I went there)
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
As well you should because it is a perfectly reasonable comparison.
anonymous
|
July 17, 2012
The Scouts have rules. No gays is one of those rules. A lifestyle choice is not afforded a Constitutional protection. Get over it.

rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
It is clearly their "right" to discriminate but it is not right, as an American value, to do so.
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
"The Scouts have rules. No gays is one of them." Therefore, by your logic...the Scouts are intolerant homophobic discriminatory bigots. As such, we are in agreement.
I'm gay
|
July 17, 2012
I'm gay and I am always amazed and disappointed that organizations such as the Boy Scouts continue to be so narrow minded and evil.

If the concern is that a person is a sexual predator the facts are that predators are almost exclusively heterosexuals, just like Sandusky at Penn State.

Nobody is asking for Boy Scouts to give away toaster ovens for every homosexual they allow in. We are not asking for them to become a leader in gay rights. We simply don't want to be excluded because of who we love.

I go to work every day, I pay taxes, I'm a Cobb county home owner, I vote, I have a family (yes even children), I go to church - I might even sit next to you both at church and at my son's high school football game.

I'm JUST LIKE YOU except for one thing. I would NOT ban you or your child just because I don't agree with who you love.
anonymous
|
July 17, 2012
How can they be heterosexual when they preyed on young boys? Isnt same sex attraction called homosexual?

The Boy Scouts aren't evil by definition, but homosexuality is - if you choose the Bible.
Way to go
|
July 17, 2012
I have great respect for the Boy Scouts for sticking with to their values and beliefs. Too many values have eroded in society in order to placate liberal groups.
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
So they "value" bigotry and "believe" discrimination is OK...I would prefer them to value and believe in tolerance, acceptance, understanding, but, hey, that's just me.
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
How about naming them since you seem to know so much about this issue. But, let me understand your present argument first. The Scouts are sticking by their values and beliefs as you say....and in this case those values and beliefs, put into practice in this case, include homophobia, intolerance and discrimination....and these you respect....got it.
Why hate?
|
July 17, 2012
I was a boy scout when I was young but my kids will never be allowed to join those sickening bigots. There are many other youth organizations that don't teach hate. I hope they just fade away.
okpeople
|
July 17, 2012
They don't teach hate, just morals. Boy Scouts have always set a very high standard. I'm glad they showed some backbone and didn't cave in the the politically correct mud pit.
to ok
|
July 17, 2012
So you also are a hateful bigot but wont admit it. Sad. And yes they do teach hate sir.
anonymous
|
July 17, 2012
Doesn't sound like hate to me. Sounds like you hate them. Ironic isn't it?
rjsnh
|
July 18, 2012
And the "moral" of this story is Boy Scouts would rather practice discrimination than inclusion.
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides