On May 23, the 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scout National Council of The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will decide whether to continue their discriminatory membership policy against self-affirming gay scouts and gay scout leaders. For years, The BSA has chosen to reject the membership and leadership of those scouts who have been honest and truthful about a basic truth of their lives, discounting their commitment and years of diligent service to the BSA and reinforcing the most destructive and demeaning stereotypes about their characters.
On April 19, the Executive Committee of the BSA submitted a voting resolution to the National Council that would lift the ban on membership for gay scouts but maintain the ban on adult gay scout leaders. The rationale for this half-a-loaf approach to justice is that religious organizations expressed more concern about the participation of gay adults in the Scouts than about the membership and participation of gay youth scouts. Unfortunately, this action appears to be a sad capitulation to those who oppose our nation's march toward full equality and inclusion for all Americans regardless of their sexual orientation.
The BSA has been a valuable partner with social and religious institutions across the nation in the development of youth and communities committed to honesty and trustworthiness and service and citizenship. It now has the opportunity to join President Barack Obama, Scout Board Member and CEO of Ernst & Young, Jim Turley, and organizations like Intel, Major League Soccer, and the United Way in the call for a non-discrimination policy within the BSA. For too long, the BSA has ignored the rapid progress toward equality and inclusion in many communities that now ban discrimination based upon sexual orientation. The BSA's membership ban places it outside the common experience of many communities who welcome participation in social and civic life by all their members, including gay youth and leaders who have benefited from their participation in the Scouts.
Join MCC's Public Policy Team in urging the BSA to adopt a full non-discrimination policy, which will afford all youth and leaders the opportunity to share in the common benefits of building character, becoming responsible citizens, and developing personal fitness that are the hallmarks of participation in the BSA:
- Visit Scouts for Equality and find out the many ways that you can express your support for a full non-discrimination policy that welcomes both gay youth and leaders into membership.
- Join Scouts for Equality's National Day of Action by participating in various local events to generate support for ending discrimination in the BSA.
- Get updates about the voting process for the policy change by The Boy Scouts of America.