US Boy Scouts reaffirm ban on gays

2012-07-18 08:32

New York - The Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday emphatically re-affirmed its policy of excluding gays after a confidential two-year review, angering critics who hoped that relentless protest campaigns might lead to change.

The Scouts cited support from parents as a key reason for keeping the policy and expressed hope that the prolonged debate over it might now subside. Bitter reactions from gay-rights activists suggested that result was unlikely.

The Scouts' national spokesperson, Deron Smith, said an 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, came to the conclusion that the exclusion policy "is absolutely the best policy" for the 112-year-old organisation.

Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the US Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.

As a result of the committee's decision, the Scouts' national executive board will take no further action on a resolution submitted at its recent national conference asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.

The Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, contended that most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both adult leaders and Scouts.

'Missed opportunity'

"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," Mazzuca said.

"We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

The president of the largest US gay-rights group, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, depicted the Scouts' decision as "a missed opportunity of colossal proportions".

"With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued," he said. "They've chosen to teach division and intolerance."

Darlene Nipper, deputy executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, said the Scouts "have turned their backs on a chance to demonstrate fairness, exercise sound judgment, and serve as a role model for valuing others".

The Scouts did not identify the members of the special committee that studied the issue, but said in a statement that they represented "a diversity of perspectives and opinions".

Continued pressure

The announcement suggests that hurdles may be high for a couple of members of the national executive board — Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson — who have recently indicated they would try to work from within to change the membership policy.

Both of their companies have been commended by gay-rights groups for gay-friendly employment policies.

Stephenson is on track to become president of the Scouts' national board in 2014, and will likely face continued pressure from gay-rights groups to try to end the exclusion policy.

A statement from the executive committee of the Scouts' national executive board alluded to the Turley-Stephenson developments.

"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," the statement said.

"While not all board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organisations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organisation."

Lesbian mom kicked out

Since 2000, the Boy Scouts have been targeted with numerous protest campaigns and run afoul of some local non-discrimination laws because of the membership policy.

One ongoing protest campaign involves Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio mother of a 7-year-old Cub Scout who was ousted as a den mother because she is lesbian., an online forum supporting activist causes, says more than 300 000 people have signed its petition urging the Scouts to reinstate Tyrrell and abandon the exclusion policy. The petition is to be delivered to the Scouts' national headquarters in Irving, Texas, on Wednesday.

The Boy Scouts' policy stands in contrast to inclusive membership policies adopted by several other major youth organisations, including the Girl Scouts of the USA and Camp Fire.

  • thys.reeder - 2012-07-18 09:03

    As much as I support any organisation's right to control their membership policy im very dissapointed. This is another instance of the fundamentalist faction within the conservatives rearing its ugly head.

      robbie.crouch - 2012-07-18 09:20

      No... it's liberal human rights minded people not respecting others point of view.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 09:40

      No, it's US Boy Scouts getting subsidies and tax breaks because they are a christian NGO, which means that because public money is used to fund them, they should not be able to exclude anyone who would want to join. Even though i don't know why anyone would want to join their bigotted group. All i ever learnt from scouts was to hike up Table Mountain at night, and tie a few knots. The rest of the time we just played rugby and made fires. If they want to exclude gays from joining, then they shouldn't use tax payers money to fund their operations.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 10:00

      Oh, and i left scouts because i was bullied and sworn at, by the scouts master!

      charlesdumbwin.dumbwin - 2012-07-18 11:01

      Wesley, I know of a case in SA where scout leaders were molesting young boys. I think the ban is to protect against predators.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 11:40

      @Charles, gay men are not sexual predators, fact is the majority of paedophiles are heterosexual. You equating gay men with paedophilia is like me equating all hetero's with rape...

  • ricky.hammer.92 - 2012-07-18 09:04

    Why don't the liberal woosies just start a gay scouts group if it's so important?

      robbie.crouch - 2012-07-18 09:19

      Exactly my thoughts.

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-07-18 09:24

      just what I was thinking as well. sometimes these gay people try so hard to force themselves in certain sections of society unnecessarily. They could just start their own Gay Scouts club and I'm sure you won't find heterosexuals going up in arms. Why are they trying to force themselves into a club that has always been aligned to masculinity and not effeminate tendencies?

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 09:41

      Will these "gay woosies" as you say, be treated the same and provided the same benefits that the scouts enjoy? I doubt it

      phoenix.px.5 - 2012-07-18 09:48

      Do you not get it??? Some kids are gay (surprise!) and this just further alienate these kids who do not even understand what is going on with them.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 10:01

      My bad... but try get my name right... its not THAT difficult.

      Warren - 2012-07-18 12:03

      the point of the argument is to be inclusive, or you create a little apartheid with one club for boys, one for girls, one for gay boys and one for lesbian girls, one for transvestites, one for Hermaphrodites... this isn't a real world solution.

  • michiel.meyer.56 - 2012-07-18 09:08

    Well done the boy scouts! At least they still have strong moral values.

      jason.mcdonahugh - 2012-07-18 09:28

      yes because being straight means you are by default a good person. what a stupid comment

      LanfearM - 2012-07-18 09:43

      Homophobic, bigoted, idiot. That is what and who you are michiel.meyer.56! Since when does heterosexual means you are moral? What hogwash.

      jason.mcdonahugh - 2012-07-18 09:54

      @Lanfear @wesley.bischoff isnt it funny that these big brave boys are afraid of gay men, absolutely classic.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 10:03

      It is lol, they clearly have insecurities regarding their sexuality or self-image.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 13:11

      @jason That is what they think. Only straight people have morals. I suppose that sicko in Florida that beat his baby to death, because it interrupted his video gaming is an example of a good, morally sound hetero...

  • Neil - 2012-07-18 09:35

    No gays in the Scouts. That's just stupid - let's think - Hmmm... Looks like they're going to have to ban their founder, Baden-Powell. And Kipling, whose "Jungle Book" is the basis for Cub-Scouts. And Cecil John Rhodes who was a big sponsor of Baden-Powell. And, probably, most Scout masters. The Scouts are inherently gay. Where do you think the term "camp" came from?

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 10:03

      HAHAHAHAHA!!!!! ^__^

  • Pieter Janse van Rensburg - 2012-07-18 09:38

    Why do we have to do everything the gay way. Stop trying to take over everything and start your own gay-club boys club. What the hell happend to my right to be with strait people!!

      phoenix.px.5 - 2012-07-18 09:52

      Wow such compassion. This is not about you, or adults, but about children who are trying to come to terms with their secuality in environments where they are not told daily that they are disgusting and depraved human beings without even understanding what is going on. if you knew how many gay people you deal with on a daily basis you would be *slightly* surprised.

      Moi - 2012-07-18 09:57

      But they aren't asking to have anything changed. All they want is to be allowed to participate, same as the heterosexual parents and children. Why is that so hard to understand?

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 10:06

      It's true, they think we are this tiny group, when in fact, they probably meet 10 gays daily without even knowing.

      jason.mcdonahugh - 2012-07-18 12:54

      does any one understand the above comment by because i have no idea? - 2012-07-18 13:12

      My pal you're playing with extreme fire !!!!!

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 13:12

      He is drugged up with the delusion of moral superiority and gods law.

      Moi - 2012-07-18 14:24

      "Have you smelt the spirit that comes out when they get delivered ? It stinks!" I can only assume the above is in reference to a bad bout of flatulence?

  • tim.hawkins.9469 - 2012-07-18 09:40

    A bit ironic, considering the reputation of scout masters.

      phoenix.px.5 - 2012-07-18 09:52

      Big difference between being gay or straight and being a peadophile.

      merven.halo - 2012-07-18 11:03

      Priests are scout masters?

  • ben.thompson.102977 - 2012-07-18 11:26

    Why is there a problem with ones sexuality, and allowing them to work in an environment like this? It's absolutely ludicrous, if this was to happen in the UK they'd have an instant lawsuit. I have had gay teachers, I've had straight teachers. They both offered the same level of teaching, comfort and stability to the classroom. Some people really need to drop the 19th century views and move on, it's total ignorance and failure to see through bigotted views. Unless any of you have a thought out reason, then I would be gratified to hear. It's this kind of behaviour that causes divisions, which leads to homosexual teenagers feeling hopeless and ultimately in the saddest cases ending their lives because they feel they have no-one.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 11:51

      Hephzbah (and people like her) don't care. They would be happy to know there are gays out there killing themselves, because of how other people treat them.

      ben.thompson.102977 - 2012-07-18 11:57

      It's a sad truth I know. Such lack of humanity and compassion...

      jason.mcdonahugh - 2012-07-18 12:05

      @wesley.bischoff he is unfortunately and old man, that profile pic is of his wife and child. I feel more sorry for his son who is going to be raised in a household filled with hate.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 12:31

      Me too, i wonder what other hateful things they are teaching their children. - 2012-07-18 12:35

      Our household is not one of hate. My son knows i'm mad over him and gets love and gets spoiled ! He gets taught that he must love all irrespective of their views but hate sin.He is one of the most well behaved and stable children i know.Ask his teachers - 2012-07-18 12:40

      Yes i'm crazy for God and obedient to His call on our lives !!! What are you doing thats so constructive and beneficial for mankind?

      jason.mcdonahugh - 2012-07-18 12:44 sounds as tho you are trying very hard to convinc e yourself there.

      wesley.bischoff - 2012-07-18 13:19

      Oh please. Stop lying to yourself. You hate gays, just admit it. It is clear to everyone on here. Truth is you are a coward. Hating the sin is just a substitute for hating the person. Oh, so you admit to indoctrinating your son to hate according to gods laws? You couldn't just teach him all views and let him decide what he believes when he is old enough?

      ben.thompson.102977 - 2012-07-18 17:39

      I study medicine at Newcastle University Hephzbah, I want to specialise in natal care. I'd like to think that's what I'll give back to society. I'm crazy about loving and caring for people who do nothing to hurt anyone else, and they live their lives having fun, and enjoy themseleves. I don't just hate something irrational that causes no problems to me.

  • veritas.odium.paret - 2012-07-18 12:13

    Why do gay people like to label everyone who doesnt agree with them 'bigot'? Yet they don't like our '-got' ending word for them? Be considerate guys...

      Moi - 2012-07-18 12:45

      "Yet they don't like our '-got' ending word for them? Be considerate guys... " Look at your comment. 'they' are people just like you or I and deserve the same rights as everyone else. And really, you cannot compare the word bigot to the insulting, disgusting term that you are referring to.

      veritas.odium.paret - 2012-07-18 15:23

      Bigot might be more offensive and hurtful to some people than you'd think my friend. So let's just stay clear of the \-got\ words and state our differing opinions respectfully. How about it?

      ben.thompson.102977 - 2012-07-18 17:47

      It would be lovely if we could state out opinions respectfully however when your opinions are pushed through into oppressive laws then I won't stand idolly by and take the abuse. I've done nothing in my life so far to label me as a second class citizen, however in America I believe that is how I would be treat. If people are making statements with no evidence or proper reasoning to back up their claims which affect the welfare of others, then I'm sorry that is a bigotted view. Unless someone clearly insults you with ad hominem language then please don't make it out that you're the victim.

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