Values groups, rights advocates criticize Boy Scouts’ proposed policy on gays

Zach Wahls, Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality, said Friday that his group applauded an end to a ban on gay Scouts, “and we will work to encourage members of the National Council to vote to approve it.”

“But we will continue to fight to push discrimination out of Scouting once and for all. For families like mine, the BSA’s ban on gay leaders will continue to prevent many great and loving parents from sharing the joys of Scouting with their children,” said Mr. Wahls, who is not gay but has two lesbian mothers.

John Stemberger, Eagle Scout and founder of OnMyHonor.net, a coalition of Scouting parents, leaders and alumni that supports the current policy in its entirety, said Friday that the proposed resolution should be voted down.

This proposal is “an incremental step for full-blown, open homosexuality in all Scouting in the future,” said Mr. Stemberger. “Parents should still have the final say on the issues of sexuality and politics. Allowing open homosexuality in the BSA injects both those topics right into the program.”

Youth policy

The proposed resolution restates the contested policy, which says: “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.” This policy will be maintained for all adult leaders of the BSA.

The resolution further says that “any sexual contact, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” and that the Boy Scouts of America does not “have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation” and members “may not use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda.”

It concludes by saying that the Boy Scouts organization “is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements,” and that “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” However, all youths participating in Scouting must “(a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law.”

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About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein

Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.

Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...

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