A Democratic New York state senator has introduced legislation that would strip the Boy Scouts of their tax-exempt status over their continued refusal to allow gay adults into the 103-year old organization. Democratic state Senator Brad Hoylman filed the legislation after the Scouts made their decision yesterday to include gay youth, but retain their ban on gay adults.
“As the only openly-gay New York State Senator, a parent and a former Eagle Scout (Troop 70, Lewisburg, WV), I am outraged that the BSA has maintained its ban on gay adult leaders,” Sentor Hoylman says in a statement. “This policy represents rank discrimination by the organization against LGBT people and is extremely painful to families like mine. ”
Hoylman calls the fact that gay scouts will be kicked out of Scouting when they become adults “inconceivable,” and adds “this stigma is hurtful to young people, reinforcing and legitimizing the bullying and alienation of our children that has led to tragic consequences, including violence against members of the LGBT community.”
Sen. Hoylman, who is a Rhodes Scholar and Harvard Law graduate, has been especially active and visible during New York City’s anti-gay hate crime wave, even publishing the list of anti-gay hate crimes, including the murder of Mark Carson, on his Facebook page.
“I strongly believe that the BSA is obliged by the Constitution of the United States, longstanding state and local anti-discrimination laws and the Scout Law itself to categorically end its policy of bigotry toward gays and lesbians,” Hoylman’s statement notes, adding:
To that end, I have introduced legislation (S.5170) that would deny tax-exempt status to all youth groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or other defining characteristics. It has been more than ten years since New York State enacted the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), and it’s long past time for the BSA to comply and remove all barriers to participation based on sexual orientation.”
Last month, Sen. Hoylman introduced a bill that “would bar mental health providers from trying to change the sexual orientation of anyone under the age of 18.”
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