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Boy Scouts Determined To Continue Ban On Gays After Secret Study

by David Badash on July 17, 2012

in Bigotry Watch,Civil Rights,News,Politics

Post image for Boy Scouts Determined To Continue Ban On Gays After Secret Study

The Boy Scouts of America say their discriminatory policy “allows the organization to most efficiently accomplish its mission of focusing on interests and perspectives that are held in common.”

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has just announced it has concluded a secret, never-before revealed “study,” and is resolved that gay people should continue to be banned from any association with the century-old organization. Outgoing Boy Scouts head Rex Tillerson is the CEO of Exxon-Mobile, a corporation that has the lowest rating possible by HRC: -25.

READ: Boy Scouts Keep Ban On Gays — Equality Organizations React

“After careful consideration of a resolution asking the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its longstanding membership standards policy, today the organization affirmed its current policy, stating that it remains in the best interest of Scouting and that there will be no further action taken on the resolution,” Boy Scouts of America said via a statement:

“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,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America. “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”

Following the recommendation to affirm the BSA’s membership policy, the executive committee of the BSA National Executive Board released the following statement: “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. 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 and supports it for the BSA.”

In email and telephone conversations with the Boy Scouts of America today, The New Civil Rights Movement asked a variety of questions but received little more than this statement:

Scouting is not the place to resolve divergent viewpoints in society. Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting.  The BSA’s policy is right for the organization because it allows the organization to most efficiently accomplish its mission of focusing on interests and perspectives that are held in common.

The Scouts were quick to note, however, that the decision to continue the ban was not made by Rex Tillerson.

The Boy Scouts did not respond immediately to the following questions related to the statement they released today announcing the ban would continue:

How does the BSA or Bob Mazzuca know what the majority “values” or “agrees with”? Has there been a national/international poll directly questioning the membership on the gay ban?

The statement also says that the “membership standards policy,” aka a ban on LGBT people at all levels of the BSA, “remains in the best interest of Scouting,” yet there is no explanation of how it “remains in the best interest of Scouting,” or how removing the ban on gay people would not be “in the best interest of Scouting.”

Also, the statement says there was “a nearly two-year-long examination,” yet no one has ever mentioned this examination previously. Why? Also, why were people with specific expertise in these matters not invited to be part of the study/examination? Wouldn’t it be the smart thing to do, to bring in outside experts?

When did the examination conclude, what were its specific findings, and will they be released to the public?

(Note: We’ll update this story if the BSA decides to respond.)

Recently, two executive board members of the Boy Scouts publicly endorsed having LGBT people allowed into the BSA. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley have both stood up and said the ban on gay people in the Boy Scouts of America should be lifted.

In 2000, the BSA won a Supreme Court case that ruled private organizations, like the Scouts, are allowed to decide what policies it uses to determine membership.

The Dallas Voice, last week, in a lengthy exploration into discrimination by the Boy Scouts, noted:

The incoming BSA president is Wayne Perry, who is retired from McCaw Cellular, which became a part of Dallas-based AT&T — a company that receives the highest possible score from HRC.

Finally, there is a movement gaining momentum. Via a press release today:

Eagle Scout Zach Wahls and Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted as her son’s den leader in April and launched a petition attracting 300,000 signatures, responded today after Boy Scouts of America officials told the Associated Press that a secret committee had decided it will continue to maintain the ban on gay scouts and gay scout leaders.

“This announcement is old news. We’ve heard this line before, and I’m sure they’ll keep saying this until the day they decide to change the policy. This announcement, moreover this ‘process,’ is just a distraction. We know where this is headed,” said Wahls, who recently launched Scouts for Equality to overturn the ban. “Above all, what is most disappointing about today’s announcement is the secretive nature surrounding how this conclusion was reached. The very first value of the Scout Law is that a Scout is trustworthy. There is absolutely nothing trustworthy about unelected and unnamed committee members who are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.”

On Wednesday, July 18, Tyrrell and her 7-year-old son Cruz, formerly a Cub Scout, will deliver more than 300,000 signatures and comments — from the petition started by Tyrrell — to the Boy Scouts of America’s national headquarters in Dallas.

Tyrrell hopes Boy Scout leaders will meet with her for the first time and accept the signatures as well as consider reinstating her as den leader so her son can resume scouting. Tyrrell’s previous attempts to meet with BSA have been rejected. As a result, Wahls — a prominent Eagle Scout, advocate for the LGBT community, and leader of “Scouts for Equality” — delivered 275,000 of the petitions on behalf of Tyrrell to BSA at an Orlando conference on May 30.

Buzzfeed adds:

Wayne Besen, the executive director of Truth Wins Out, which tracks anti-gay religious activity, blamed the influence of Christian groups. The Boy Scouts “are influenced heavily by the Latter Day Saints church and Southern Baptists. Until the influence of these groups wanes, a new policy is doubtful, if not wishful thinking,” he said.

Wahls made the case that religious values should favor inclusion.

“In the Boy Scouts, I learned about the importance of religious respect. I learned and grew alongside Christians, Jews, Muslims and Hindus,” he said. “Regardless of your thoughts on homosexuality, surely we can agree that gay people who serve our troops and communities deserve our respect and gratitude.”

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