- The Washington Times - Friday, April 19, 2013

The Boy Scouts of America’s plan to drop its ban on gay Scouts but to continue to bar homosexual Scout leaders and employees has advocates on both sides of the issue unhappy.

The Boy Scouts proposal, announced Friday, “would introduce homosexuality into the ranks and eventually the leadership of Scouting,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, one of Washington’s most prominent traditional-values groups.

“This is totally unacceptable to the vast majority of Scouting parents who want to keep their exclusive right to discuss issues of sexuality with their sons,” Mr. Perkins said.


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On the other side of the issue, Chad Griffin, president of the national gay-rights advocacy group the Human Rights Campaign, said the Boy Scouts‘ proposed compromise remains discriminatory.

“This resolution must go further,” he said.

The proposed resolution is scheduled for a vote by some 1,400 members at a national conference next month in Grapevine, Texas.

Voting members, whose names and addresses will be kept confidential, must be present to vote. If the resolution passes, it will go into effect Jan. 1. If it is not passed, current policy will stand with no plans for further review, the Boy Scouts said.

The 103-year-old organization said it received an “outpouring of feedback” about its membership policy, which does not permit “open or avowed homosexuals” as members, leaders or volunteers.

Its proposed policy keeps that ban for adults, which means the Boy Scouts will not accept lesbian den mothers or openly gay scoutmasters.

But — after clarifying that young Scouts should not be engaging in sexual activity, neither heterosexual nor homosexual — the proposed resolution says that “no youth may be denied membership … on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”

Consensus sought

The proposed resolution reflects the widest agreement of people who were surveyed on the issues, the Boy Scouts said.

Most of about 200,000 adult members of the Scouting community said they “support the BSA’s current policy of excluding open and avowed homosexuals,” the Boy Scouts said. But in other surveys of parents with sons and teens, including 200 teenage Scouts, most tended “to oppose the policy.”

The Boy Scouts upheld its membership policy in July but backtracked in January, floating a proposal to end the national membership policy and let local councils set their own rules.

The ensuing outcry forced Scouting executives to table their proposal, collect more information and come up with the latest proposal — which does not permit local councils to set membership policies.

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