Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay boys
May 23, 2013 11:40 PM | 492 views | 10 10 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former Cub Scouts den leader Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted from the Scouts because she is openly gay, becomes emotional as she responds to a reporters question Thursday in Grapevine, Texas. Of the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s National Council who cast ballots, 61 percent supported a proposal drafted by the governing Executive Committee opening the BSA’s ranks to gay Scouts, but not to gay Scout leaders. <br> The Associated Press
Former Cub Scouts den leader Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted from the Scouts because she is openly gay, becomes emotional as she responds to a reporters question Thursday in Grapevine, Texas. Of the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s National Council who cast ballots, 61 percent supported a proposal drafted by the governing Executive Committee opening the BSA’s ranks to gay Scouts, but not to gay Scout leaders.
The Associated Press
slideshow
By David Crary and Nomaan Merchant

Associated Press Writer

GRAPEVINE, Texas — The Boy Scouts of America threw open its ranks Thursday to gay Scouts but not gay Scout leaders — a fiercely contested compromise that some warned could fracture the organization and lead to mass defections of members and donors.

Of the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s National Council who cast ballots, 61 percent supported the proposal drafted by the governing Executive Committee. The policy change takes effect Jan. 1.

“While people have different opinions about this policy, we can all agree that kids are better off when they are in Scouting,” the BSA said after announcing the results at the council’s annual meeting near Dallas.

However, the outcome will not end the bitter debate over the Scouts’ membership policy.

Liberal Scout leaders — while supporting the proposal to accept gay youth — have made clear they want the ban on gay leaders lifted as well.

In contrast, conservatives with the Scouts — including some churches that sponsor Scout units — wanted to continue excluding gay youths, in some cases threatening to defect if the ban were lifted.

“We are deeply saddened,” said Frank Page, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s executive committee after learning of the result. “Homosexual behavior is incompatible with the principles enshrined in the Scout oath and Scout law.”

The Assemblies of God, another conservative denomination, said the policy change “will lead to a mass exodus from the Boy Scout program.”

The result was welcomed by many gay-rights groups, which joined in the call for an end to the ban on gay adults.

“I’m so proud of how far we’ve come, but until there’s a place for everyone in Scouting, my work will continue,” said Jennifer Tyrrell, who’s ouster as a Cub Scout den leader in Ohio because she is lesbian launched a national protest movement.

The vote followed what the BSA described as “the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history” to gauge opinions within the community.

The BSA could also take a hit financially. Many Scout units in conservative areas fear their local donors will stop giving if the ban on gay youth is lifted.

Of the more than 200,000 leaders, parents and youth members who responded, 61 percent supported the current policy of excluding gays, while 34 percent opposed it. However, most parents of young Scouts, as while as youth members themselves, opposed the ban.

The proposal approved Thursday was seen as a compromise, and the Scouts stressed that they would not condone sexual conduct by any Scout — gay or straight.

“The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue,” a BSA statement said.

Since the executive committee just completed a lengthy review process, “there are no plans for further review on this matter,” the group said.

The BSA’s overall “traditional youth membership” — Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts and Venturers — is now about 2.6 million, compared with more than 4 million in peak years of the past. It also has about 1 million adult leaders and volunteers.

Of the more than 100,000 Scouting units in the U.S., 70 percent are chartered by religious institutions.

Those include liberal churches opposed to any ban on gays, but some of the largest sponsors are relatively conservative denominations that have previously supported the broad ban — notably the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Southern Baptist churches.

The BSA, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2010, has long excluded both gays and atheists.

Protests over the no-gays policy gained momentum in 2000, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the BSA’s right to exclude gays. Scout units lost sponsorships by public schools and other entities that adhered to nondiscrimination policies, and several local Scout councils made public their displeasure with the policy.
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Lib in Cobb
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May 24, 2013
So the churches want to pull their support of the Boy Scouts. OK, leave.

"And God so loved the world........."

I guess that means only the hetero world.

HYPOCRITES!
D.G. in Clarkdale
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May 24, 2013
If I've said it once I've said it a thousand times. The real danger in this country comes from the left, who are more destructive than any enemy we've ever faced as a nation. With that said I quote Marcus Tullis Cicero...

“A nation can survive its fools, and even the ambitious. But it cannot survive treason from within. An enemy at the gates is less formidable, for he is known and carries his banner openly. But the traitor moves amongst those within the gate freely, his sly whispers rustling through all the alleys, heard in the very halls of government itself. For the traitor appears not a traitor; he speaks in accents familiar to his victims, and he wears their face and their arguments, he appeals to the baseness that lies deep in the hearts of all men. He rots the soul of a nation, he works secretly and unknown in the night to undermine the pillars of the city, he infects the body politic so that it can no longer resist. A murderer is less to fear.”

Lib in Cobb
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May 24, 2013
@DG: Sounds like an accurate description of the GOP. Those who do not walk lock step with the GOP are automatically traitors? You have elevated yourself and the "right wingers" to a lofty, undeserved position, where the air is rare.

I will remind you that Cicero executed five conspirators without due process, and Cicero was a lawyer. It is a good thing that he has been dead for a long time.
tired of it
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May 24, 2013
And we wonder what this world is coming too. It is a SIN to be gay, you cannot pick and choose what you believe in the Bible , you either beleive it all or nothing. IT is your choice. It is time for the christians in this country to stand up for what is right and speak out about it instead of being silenced by the 21st century bullcrap. This country is going down the drain for that very reason.. It is getting time for the LORD to return and who side are you going to be on the devil or GOD's?
Lib in Cobb
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May 24, 2013
@tired of it: I have been tired of your end of the belief spectrum for many years. Now it's your turn. I am atheist and have been for most of my life. I have never met an atheist who insists on attempting to make non atheists switch sides. I have met MANY christians and too many are hypocrites, who will knock on my door, approach me in parking lots, pester me on the golf course, bother me in the workplace, engage me in conversation at social gatherings, all done with the purpose of getting me to change my mind. I won't change my mind and neither will you and that is fine with me. Enjoy the 21st century.

Peace to you.
Lib in Cobb
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May 24, 2013
@Tired: I neglected to say. It is a sin in your world to be gay. A significant portion of our population is gay, many have not come out, because of neanderthal thinkers like you. I will bet there are gay members of your church and you don't know it, perhaps even your minister. Trust me there are gay people in your town, who you know, who are gay, they are living a secret life and they are fearful that folks like you will find out.

BTW, just to clarify a point, I believe NOTHING in the bible. I will not need to be on anyone's side because jesus is not coming back. There is no choice to be made between the devil and god, because it is just a made up story invented by men long ago, to instill fear, enabling them to control the weak minded. You have elected to be controlled.
Lib in Cobb
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May 24, 2013
YES! Next openly gay scout leaders. The thinkers win again, YES!

To the conserves, run for the hills, the sky is falling, get you kids out of the scouts, hide the scout shorts and knee socks, don't go outside your kid may come in contact with a gay scout, build a bunker, move out of the US, we are all going to burn in hell.
D.G. in Clarkdalez
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May 24, 2013
@ Lib in Cobb, the more you post the more idiotic you prove yourself to be.

tired of it
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May 24, 2013
@ lib in Cobb yes if you have not ask Christ to come into your heart and repent your sins yes, you will go to hell. No one is perfect and everyone sins but you try to be the best christian you can be every day and ask God to forgive when you fail..
Lib in Cobb
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May 25, 2013
@Tired: I am atheist, your words have no impact at all.

@DG: I am crushed.
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