- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 6, 2015

An openly gay Ohio Boy Scout assistant leader has been notified that he must step down, due to the national Boy Scouts of America membership policy for adults.

Brian Peffly said he will not relinquish his volunteer role without protest.

“I’m not going to take this lying down. I’m not going to take this quietly,” Mr. Peffly told cleveland.com Wednesday. “I want the whole country to see the effects of this discrimination.”

The BSA told cleveland.com that while “it is never our desire to remove anyone from scouting, this individual indicated he does not meet the requirements for a volunteer adult leadership position.”

In May 2013, hundreds of members of the BSA’s national council voted to change its youth-membership policy to admit youth who are openly homosexual, while affirming its policy that sexual activity of any kind is not condoned for youth in Scouting.

The BSA did not consider changing its separate membership policy for adults in Scouting, which disallows “open or avowed” homosexuals, or people “who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA” to serve as volunteers or leaders.

Gay rights groups, including Scouts for Equality, have denounced the adult policy, and some companies have withdrawn their support for the BSA over it.

The BSA does not ask or inquire about adults’ sexual orientation, but when they declare they are gay, such as in a media interview or other public setting, the BSA advises them that they are released from Scouting.

Mr. Peffly, 35 and an Eagle Scout, had not been involved in Scouting for several years but returned to lead a Scouts for Equality chapter in Columbus. He told a local television reporter he was gay.

In other cases, the BSA in April 2014 revoked the charter of a Seattle-area Cub Scout pack and Boy Scout troop when the sponsoring church organization decided to keep its openly gay scoutmaster. Members of those units were advised to transfer to other ones in the area.

Recently, the Greater New York Councils of the BSA hired Pascal Tessier, an openly gay Eagle Scout who is now an adult, for its summer camp program.

N.Y. scouting officials told The New York Times they hired Mr. Tessier “irrespective” of his sexual orientation.

A spokesman for the BSA told The Times that it would be looking into the situation.

In April, the attorney general of New York wrote to the BSA to advise them of N.Y. state and city laws prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation, The Associated Press reported.

In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that the BSA had the right to set its membership policies, overturning a New Jersey Supreme Court ruling that tried to force the BSA to re-admit a gay assistant scoutmaster.

The high court said the private nonprofit organization’s constitutional right of “expressive association” was violated by New Jersey’s public accommodations law, AP reported.

Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, said Wednesday the BSA’s adult policy sends a “devastating message to every gay youth in the country: ‘You are no longer welcome once you become an adult.’” 

The BSA’s adult-membership policy, however, was not brought up for change in recent years and is considered a settled matter.

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