- Atheists’ Easter taunt to Christians: ‘Jesus is a myth’
- Miley Cyrus hospitalized, cancels Kansas City show
- Josh Romney swipes Harry Reid with photo tweet of dad paying taxes — ‘your paycheck’
- Despite Obamacare problems, some Dems want Sebelius to run for Senate: report
- Angry New Yorkers shred gun registrations in deadline day protests
- Uninsured rate dropping faster in places that embraced pillars of Obamacare, survey shows
- Hawaii, D.C. give residents two more weeks to sign up under Obamacare
- Climate change causing fish to lose their minds, researchers say
- Great Britain tops World’s Most Sexist Nation list
- Aaron Hernandez investigated for threatening to kill prison guard
Values groups, rights advocates criticize Boy Scouts’ proposed policy on gays
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.
“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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
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 ...
- Family, agency in custody battle over sick daughter
- Values group wins court round over use of gay marriage photo
- Gay-photo lawsuit partially dismissed
- Some gay activists fear same-sex supporters are becoming intolerant
- Perry: Restrictions, deadline make federal anti-rape prison act unworkable for Texas
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
TWT Video Picks
By returning to Christian roots, the nation can achieve greatness once again
- Fuel-filled wings, ability to swarm: Pentagon offers glimpse at future of drone fleet
- Secret U.S. assessments show Afghanistan not ready to govern on own
- CARSON: Recovering Tocqueville's vision of American exceptionalism
- 'Culture of intimidation' seen in Nevada ranch standoff
- GOP writes legislation to deny Attorney General Eric Holder his salary
- WEBER: Obamacare cuts home healthcare for millions of seniors
- PHILLIPS: What did Harry Reid know and when did he know it?
- HURT: Wilson and Obama ... 100 years apart, but so alike
- U.S. Navy to turn seawater into jet fuel
- HHS nominee Sylvia Burwell entangled in MetLife lawsuit
Celebrity deaths in 2014
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Chaos as Manhattan building explodes