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Look: LGBT Organizations — And Opponents — Respond To Boy Scouts Decision To Allow Gay Scouts

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The Boy Scouts of America‘s historic decision today, to allow gay scouts, although not gay adults, is another huge milestone in the march for equality.

RELATED:

Here’s The Complete Boy Scouts Historic Statement On Gays In Scouting

Breaking: Boy Scouts Vote To Drop Ban, Allow Gay Scouts

Here are reactions from both LGBT organizations and allies, and opponents to LGBT equality.

LGBT Orgs, for the most part, are pleased:

GLAAD

“Today’s vote is a significant victory for gay youth across the nation and a clear indication that the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay adult leaders will also inevitably end,” said GLAAD spokesperson, Rich Ferraro. “The Boy Scouts of America heard from religious leaders, corporate sponsors and so many Scouting families who want an end to discrimination against gay people, and GLAAD will continue this work with those committed to equality in Scouting until gay parents and adults are able to participate.”

A recent ABC News-Washington Post poll found that 63 percent of Americans support the Boy Scouts’ plan to allow gay Scouts, with 56 percent in support of inclusive Scouting for gay parents and adults as well.

GLAAD first started calls for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay scouts and scout leaders in April 2012 after Jennifer Tyrrell, a mom and den leader from Ohio was removed from her 7-year-old’s Cub Scout pack for being gay. Tyrrell’s Change.org petition has attracted more than 345,000 signatures in support of ending the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay Scouts and adult leaders.

“When I was kicked out of the Boy Scouts last April, I was devastated.” said Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who in April 2012, alongside GLAAD, reignited a national conversation about discrimination in Scouting after she was ousted as leader of her son’s Cub Scout pack because she’s gay. “Having to look my son, Cruz, in the eye and tell him that our family isn’t good enough was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. Today is truly a watershed moment for me, but even more so for the millions of kids across this country, who will now be allowed to serve in the Scouts without fear of rejection. I’m so proud of how far we’ve come, but until there’s a place for everyone in Scouting, my work will continue.”

More than 1.8 million people have joined Change.org petition campaigns since Tyrrell launched her first petition. Since that day, advocacy efforts and successful petition campaigns have recruited two Boy Scout board members — AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson and Ernst & Young CEO James Turley — to denounce the national anti-gay policy. GLAAD, together with Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality Zach Wahls, have also used Change.org petitions to pressure corporate donors such as the Intel Foundation and the UPS Foundation to pull funding until the Boy Scouts end their policy banning gay youth and parents. Last fall, a Bay Area mother named Karen Andresen petitioned her local Boy Scout council to honor her son Ryan with an Eagle Award that was denied to him when the Scout came out as gay. An official Eagle Board of Review unanimously approved Ryan’s application for Eagle, but a Boy Scout executive ultimately rejected his application.

While today’s vote opens up Scouting for young men, it will not help Tyrrell or the countless other LGBT parents and families who wish to participate in Scouting. GLAAD will continue to keep the pressure on and fight for full equality.

“This is an historic day in the 103-year history of the Boy Scouts of America — the day it finally found its moral compass and started down the long trail to equality in Scouting,” said former Kentucky father Greg Bourke, who was ousted as Scoutmaster of his son’s Boy Scouts troop because he is gay. “No longer will gay Boy Scouts have to hide their sexual orientation from fear of being criticized and ousted from the Boy Scout membership rolls.  That is definite progress, but even with this approved membership change, gay adults like Jennifer Tyrrell and myself will continue to be banned from serving in the Scouts, even in units with our own children.  There is no other word for that except ‘discrimination.'”

 

PFLAG

PFLAG National believes that, while the BSA has today taken a step in the right direction, the new policy is still, at its heart, discriminatory against our gay and lesbian loved ones.

Inclusion, by its very nature, cannot be selective: either you are a welcoming organization or you are not. In going halfway with this policy, the BSA suggests that their members are only capable of being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, courteous and kind until their 18th birthdays. Once taught, do these traits diminish or disappear once a child comes of age? Shouldn’t being a scout serve as the best training to then lead other scouts in the future? And for same-sex parents who want to participate as leaders in their children’s troops, should the message be that their commitment to their child’s scouting activities is suspect?

At PFLAG National, we are troubled by the message this sends to ALL youth and adults about what it means to be a truly inclusive organization. We hope that the BSA will quickly realize that the organization is still on the wrong side of history, and take the necessary step to do the right thing by ALL of its members, denying no person membership or a position in the scouts based solely on their sexual orientation.

 

HRC

“Today is a historic day for Boy Scouts across the country who want to be a part of this great American institution,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.  “But the new policy doesn’t go far enough.  Parents and adults of good moral character, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to volunteer their time to mentor the next generation of Americans.”

“The Boy Scouts of America can do better,” said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality.  “We welcome the news that the ban on gay Scouts is history, but our work isn’t over until we honor the Scout Law by making this American institution open and affirming to all.”

Unanswered in the new policy is the issue of employment discrimination by BSA.  Currently, the BSA job application for “professional commission” explicitly says gays need not apply. The application, which comes from the BSA’s national office and appears to be in use across the country, reads:  “The Boy Scouts of America will not employ atheists, agnostics, known or avowed homosexuals.” The full application can be viewed here.

Several major mental health organizations support lifting the anti-gay ban completely, including for Scout leaders and other adults.  Earlier this year, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) sent a letter to the Boy Scouts of America declaring, in part, “[W]e call on you to end the ban for the betterment of all young men.  We urge you to recognize the importance of Scouts for all boys and the critical need for volunteer leaders, and end discrimination towards adult leaders based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”  For more than a decade, the American Medical Association has called the ban on gay Scouts potentially psychologically traumatizing.

In April 2012, Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell launched a Change.org petition calling on the Boy Scouts of America to end its national ban on gay scouts, parents, and scout leaders after she was ousted as her son’s den leader because she is gay. She sparked a campaign led by GLAAD and Scouts for Equality to advocate for an inclusive BSA, which has resulted in several corporate sponsors withholding funds as well as hundreds of celebrities, elected officials, scouts and religious institutions speaking out against the ban. In February of this year, GLAAD and Scouts for Equality delivered more than 1.4 million Change.org signatures to BSA headquarters with gay scouts and scouting families impacted by the ban.

 

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

“This vote marks a monumental step forward for the Boy Scouts of America. We are thrilled for the gay youth who will no longer be turned away from scouting simply because of who they are. This milestone has been years in the making, and we thank all those who have fought so hard to end this grave injustice against our young people.

“As we celebrate this moment, we know the work isn’t complete. The Boy Scouts of America still discriminates against qualified adults who are denied the opportunity to participate in leadership positions because they are gay. Fairness is a fundamental American principle — it’s not to be sliced, diced, divvied up and dictated by prejudice. By retaining the discriminatory ban on gay adults, the Boy Scouts of America has signaled that this core value is up for grabs, that a level playing field remains out of reach, and that it’s still okay to target others for second-class treatment.

“Boy Scouts’ leadership should stop clinging to a policy of exclusion and scrap the ban, once and for all. It’s long past time for a fully inclusive Boy Scouts of America.”

 

Family Equality Council

“Every Boy Scout, on their honor, first pledges to do their best,” said Family Equality Council Spokesman Steve Majors.  “This is a step in the right direction, but it’s not the best the Boy Scouts can do.  The Boy Scouts of America have sent a hurtful message to Scouts with LGBT parents that their moms and dads are not welcome as leaders alongside other parents.  As a father of two girl scouts and the proud partner of an Eagle Scout, I know that Scouting has a long tradition of being a family activity and the Boy Scouts should be open to all our families.”

“Let’s also not forget this decision also affects gay Scouts who will be prevented from serving as adult leaders,” added Majors.  “There is nothing honorable about discriminating against Scouts after they reach a certain age.  Family Equality Council remains proud of the work that Zach Wahls, our Outspoken Generation co-chair, and parents like Jennifer Tyrrell have done to change the hearts and minds of the Boy Scouts on this issue. We look forward to the day when Scouting becomes an institution equally open to all Americans.”

 

GLSEN

“Today’s vote by the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay Scouts sends an important message to our nation’s youth. Youth organizations like the Boy Scouts can be significant forms of support for young people and it’s critical that these kinds of supports are available to everyone. Unfortunately, this issue will not rest until the Boy Scouts recognize that the exclusion of LGBT people from troop leadership is wrong-headed.”

 

Equality Florida

“While we applaud the fact that today’s vote will open the door for gay youth to participate openly and honestly in the BSA, it fails to meet the Scouts’ own standard of courage and leadership,” said Brian Winfield, Managing Director of Equality Florida. 

“Today’s policy change by the Boy Scouts of America means that three million same-sex parents will continue to be excluded from participating as scout leaders,” Winfield said. “Perhaps the BSA should bestow half a merit badge on itself for having the courage to ‘almost’ do the right thing. Discrimination is offensive and wrong whether it is dictated locally or nationally.”

 

United Church of Christ

“I am happy with today’s vote to welcome more youth to scouting by removing the barrier of sexual orientation,” said the Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, UCC executive for LGBT concerns. “This is an important and significant step, and the United Church of Christ stands ready to be helpful in every way we can to support scouting programs that are inclusive and safe for everyone.”

Truth Wins Out

The following is TWO Executive Director Wayne Besen’s statement:

“Today’s Boy Scout’s decision was insulting and pandered to ignorance and bigotry at the expense of gay people and their families. Allowing gay scouts but not adult scout leaders was a compromise – only in the sense that BSA compromised its integrity and decency. Let’s be clear — this was not a step forward, but a step backward, because it reinforced the most vile stereotypes and misconceptions deliberately peddled by anti-gay activists.

“Today’s decision was degrading, dehumanizing, and disgraceful. It stigmatized LGBT people and their families and sends the dangerous message that they are inferior and a threat to society.

“The new policy continues to tarnish the organization’s image and TWO urges increased pressure on the BSA.

“Homosexuality is not a moral issue, but a natural expression of who some people are. However, bigotry is a moral issue – one which places the BSA on the wrong side of history.

“TWO does applaud those who fought and victoriously ended the cruel ban on gay scouts. Now is the time to begin the next phase of this fight and bring down the final wall of BSA discrimination.”

 

The anti-LGBT forces are not pleased:

 

Family Research Council

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins made the following comments:

“Sadly, the Boy Scouts’ legacy of producing great leaders has become yet another casualty of moral compromise. Unfortunately, Boy Scout delegates capitulated to strong-arm tactics and abandoned the timeless values that have served the organization well for more than 100 years.

“The delegates succumbed to a concerted and manipulative effort by the national BSA leadership despite the BSA’s own survey showing 61 percent of its members in opposition to changing the policy.

“The Boy Scouts has for decades been a force for moral integrity and leadership in the United States. BSA councils, Scouting parents, and leaders of the faith-based organizations that charter over two-thirds of the packs and troops, must now decide how to respond to this moral compromise. Many will separate from the organization so that they can continue to foster character among boys and respect the right of parents to discuss issues of sexuality with their sons.

“It is clear that the current BSA leadership will bend with the winds of popular culture, and the whims of liberal special interest groups. There is little doubt that God will soon be ushered out of scouting. Now is the time for new leadership. In the meantime, we will stand with those BSA Councils who will now act to protect boys from a new policy that only creates moral confusion and disrespects the views of the vast majority of Scouting parents,” concluded Perkins.

 

Capitol Resource Institute

“The Boy Scouts are an organization that takes in approximately $500 million a year.  The homosexual activists have successfully worked their ground-game of pressuring donors and bullying the board members of this iconic institution,” said Karen England, Executive Director of Capitol Resource Institute. “The leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has cowered to the financial bullying of homosexual activists.”

“We have all been betrayed by the leadership of the BSA today. Young boys and families, fathers who have looked forward to raising their boys in the Scouts, have been betrayed by a leadership that is more concerned about losing funding than losing the boys it serves.  Historically, Americans knew this organization to build strong leaders, leaders that held true to their oaths, leaders that you were able to trust.  We are witnessing the fall of an iconic institution,” said England.

 

OnMyHonor.Net

John Stemberger, Founder of OnMyHonor.Net

“It is with great sadness and deep disappointment that we recognize on this day that the most influential youth program in America has turned a tragic corner. The vote today to allow open and avowed homosexuality into Scouting will completely transform it into an unprincipled and risky proposition for parents. It is truly a sad day for Scouting.

“The Boy Scouts of America has a logo that bears the phrase ‘Timeless Values.’   Today, the BSA can no longer use this phrase in good faith.  It has demonstrated by its actions that the organization’s values are not timeless, and instead they are governed by changing tides of polls, politics and public opinion.”

 

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OPINION

‘Unmitigated Disaster’: Conservatives Stunned by ‘Clinically-Insane Trump Speech’

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The fourth and final night of the Republican National Convention in Milwaukee on Thursday is being panned by pundits, political strategists, grassroots voters, and even some in the press, as many express shock and condemnation over Donald Trump’s presidential nomination acceptance speech, or, as one critic put it, the “clinically-insane Trump speech.”

Chris Wallace, the former long-time Fox News anchor turned CNN commentator declared he was “disappointed,” and suggested Trump’s 90+ minute speech (transcript) helped President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign.

Trump’s speech got off to a good start, Wallace said, but after awhile the GOP nominee, “couldn’t keep up the act, and so we started hearing about ‘crazy Nancy Pelosi,’ and cheating on elections, and talking about Biden. Frankly, it was a long speech, it was a rambling speech, it was a speech by an older man and I couldn’t help but think that the people who are going to be happiest tonight are not the people at Trump headquarters, but the Democrats, maybe at Biden headquarters, maybe at the headquarters of the people who think they are going to replace Joe Biden, but Jake, we have ourselves a presidential campaign again.”

READ MORE: ‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

CNN fact-checker Daniel Dale reported Trump delivered at least 22 “falsehoods” during his remarks, including that when he left office, “the world was at peace.”


Even The New York Times, which critics say has often ignored or whitewashed Trump’s worst remarks and weaknesses while focusing on President Biden’s – to the point of calling for Biden’s exit but not Trump’s – ran this headline overnight, invoking the ex-president’s 2017 inauguration speech: “Trump Struggles to Turn the Page on ‘American Carnage’.”

“On the last night of the G.O.P. convention on Thursday, Donald J. Trump promised to bridge political divides, and then returned to delighting in deepening them,” the paper of record reported.

Meanwhile, conservatives – former Republicans and current, Never-Trump Republicans – led the criticism on social media Thursday night and into Friday morning.

The Lincoln Project’s Stuart Stevens, a top political strategist and former Republican, panned Thursday night’s GOP convention: “A man who beat his wife introduced a Republican nominee found liable of sexual assault the judge called rape. And the Republican Party thinks it’s great.”

“I’ve watched thousands of political speeches in thirty years in the business. This was by far the worst,” observed Mike Madrid, the Latino GOP political consultant and Lincoln Project co-founder, calling it “an unmitigated disaster.”

“Is anyone else seeing this with their own eyes?” Madrid asked on social media, referring to Trump’s speech. “Maybe, just maybe, this is what independent voters saw at the debate.”

“The [media’s] gonna call for his withdrawal after witnessing this obvious cognitive decline right?” Madrid also asked.

READ MORE: ‘Democratic Machine’ Strategists Behind Move to Oust Biden: Ex-Congressman

He summed it up in one word: “Fiasco.”

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Denver Riggleman declared: “Media should demand Trump step down based on mental issues and incoherence.”

Fred Wellman, the former Lincoln Project executive director had a few words for top Democratic donors dissatisfied with President Joe Biden: “Hey Democratic big donors! Shut up and get back to work. Jesus. We are going to beat this loser like a drum.”

“The View” co-host Ana Navarro-Cárdenas, a Republican who opposes Donald Trump wrote: “If this clinically-insane Trump speech does not get Democrats out of their defeatist doldrums, and focused and energized around electing their nominee -instead of tearing him down- I don’t know what will.”

She added, “And you all are screaming that Biden has dementia….?”

Former Republican Rick Wilson, an award-winning political TV ad expert and Lincoln Project co-founder decimated Trump’s speech and invoked the nominee’s top campaign chiefs:

“Trump’s speech was, objectively, the single worst convention acceptance speech in modern history. It was a ramblefuck disaster from start to its long-delayed finish, and nothing is going to make it better. You know. I know it. LaCivita and Wiles know it. Utter disaster.”

Former Republican U.S. Congressman Joe Walsh added, “And one more thing: I don’t want to hear anyone in the media talk about Biden’s cognitive decline without also talking about Trump’s cognitive decline. Thanks.”

Republican Sarah Longwell, a political strategist and publisher of the conservative news and opinion site The Bulwark, commented throughout Trump’s speech.

“What would [you] say this speech is about?” she asked toward the end. Minutes earlier she remarked, “Rambling man.” And: “I dunno, this weirdo seems pretty beatable.”

Watch the videos above or at this link.

READ MORE: ‘Have to Stop This Psychopath’: Conway Launches PAC Focused on Trump ‘Mental Instability’

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News

‘Stop the Attacks’: 1400 Black Women Leaders Demand DNC Support Biden and Harris

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Amid reports of multiple top Democrats telling President Joe Biden he should end his reelection campaign, largely based on polling, more than 1400 Black women leaders and allies have sent Democratic Party leaders a letter demanding they support Biden, the presumptive nominee, and his running mate, Vice President Kamala Harris.

Calling the efforts to oust President Biden “unjust and undemocratic,” the letter states: “The Biden-Harris Administration is running on a solid record of historic legislative accomplishments and a commitment to finish their agenda to improve the lives of all Americans, protect our rights, freedoms and democracy. Further, we believe it is unfair and disruptive to judge President Biden for having a bad 90-minute debate performance against a serial liar who wants to destroy our democracy and be a dictator-in-chief.”

“Now is the time for the Democratic Party to stop the attacks against their own presidential nominee that ‘we the people’ voted for and focus on defeating the real threat to our democracy and that is Donald Trump,” they say.

READ MORE: ‘Democratic Machine’ Strategists Behind Move to Oust Biden: Ex-Congressman

The Hill reported on the letter Thursday afternoon.

No political affiliation was indicated.

Its signatories include attorney Keisha Lance Bottoms, the former Atlanta mayor and former Biden Director of the Office of Public Engagement, and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun, the first Black American woman elected to the Senate.

The letter also states the women “are writing to share our deep concern and dismay at the lack of unity being displayed by some of our elected democrats and Democratic Party leadership, who are not standing firmly and resolutely for the re-election of President Joseph Biden and his running mate, Vice President Kamala Harris.”

“During the primary election process held across the country earlier this year, 14 million Americans cast ballots for President Biden and Vice President Harris. They are the duly elected democratic party nominees for the 2024 Presidential election. We reject all efforts to disregard this fact or to circumvent the will of millions of voters who participated in a democratic process. The primaries held earlier this year were the appropriate time to challenge candidates for the nomination and press arguments about qualifications. The suggestion that any candidate who won their primary should simply step aside because victory appears difficult at the moment is disrespectful to the voters, unjust and undemocratic.

READ MORE: ‘Have to Stop This Psychopath’: Conway Launches PAC Focused on Trump ‘Mental Instability’

A small selection of other signatories include:

Political strategist and former acting DNC chair Donna Brazile

Former NAACP national president Hazel Dukes

LaTosha Brown, co-founder of Black Voters Matter

Actress and producer Vivica Fox

Attorney CK Hoffler, former Chair of the National Bar Association

Star Jones, former co-host of “The View”

Tennessee state Rep. Karen Camper, the Democratic Minority Leader

Dr. Leslie Copeland-Tune, Chief Operating Officer of the National Council of Churches

North Carolina State Senator Kandie Smith

Regina Goodwin, Oklahoma state Rep. from 2015 to 2024, now state Senator-elect

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

 

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‘Democratic Machine’ Strategists Behind Move to Oust Biden: Ex-Congressman

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Former Republican U.S. Congressman David Jolly says the people trying to push President Joe Biden out of the 2024 election are not the voters but the “Democratic Machine,” political operatives like strategists and pollsters, and he warns that the “Biden coalition” is not just “transferable” to another candidate.

“What they have done is kneecap their own nominee,” Jolly, no longer a Republican, said Thursday on MSNBC. “And so is it past the point of no return? Maybe? Maybe not.”

Revealing he spoke with “someone exceedingly close to the President himself just last night,” Jolly says, “the message was very much what you heard from Quentin Fulks, nothing had actually changed.” Fulks is the Biden-Harris Principal Deputy Campaign Manager.

He says “the final chapter” of the effort to oust President Biden came “yesterday with the Adam Schiff release. Adam Schiff, somebody who will win his Senate race by 30 points had no reason to comment on this race, like [Senators] Jon Tester in Montana or Sherrod Brown in Ohio,” who are at risk of losing re-election.

Schiff on Wednesday publicly called for President Biden to exit the race.

READ MORE: ‘Have to Stop This Psychopath’: Conway Launches PAC Focused on Trump ‘Mental Instability’

“They had Adam Schiff use his political capital, because he can lose ten points by walking the plank a bit on this, and then they increase leaks around Speaker Pelosi and around Schumer and then the Obama story today.”

He added, “we can quickly dismiss polls and we should, but at the same time, they reflect a certain sentiment. Many Democrats are concerned, they’re worried, and so the Democratic machine will say, ‘look, three out of four Democrats want him out.’ But again, the head to head says, ‘Well, if he’s still our guy, still our guy. and we’re going all the way.’ ”

Jolly continued, saying, “there are voters that are going to be angry about what the machines are doing and here would be my biggest caution to the Democrats that are pulling off this fix: The Biden coalition is not fully transferable. The Biden coalition emerged out of the anti-Trump coalition. And what Democratic operatives believe today is that the anti-Trump coalition will be enough that whomever succeeds Biden can beat Trump. I don’t know that that’s the case. Because there are enough independents and unaffiliated voters who are proudly part of the Biden coalition today, who as you just pointed out, are watching the Democratic machine say that Democratic voters, ‘your voice doesn’t matter. ‘That’s hard to attract people back to the Democratic coalition after you implode.”

Jolly concluded, “the party is controlled by the machine. They controlled the machine to nominate Biden, and now they’re using the machine to control his exit. And my point is the members of the Biden coalition that performs, the non-Democratic Biden coalition members, are now looking at this saying, ‘what is different about a Democratic machine that controls the outcome, everything, versus a Republican machine that controls it?’ I agree. I think the fix was in before and I think the fix is in now.”

READ MORE: ‘Wake Up People’: Trump ‘Elevating Criminals’ as MAGA Wants to ‘Wreck America’ Says Expert

 

 

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