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Queer Talk: Boy Scout’s Partial Policy Change ‘Not Good Enough’

Watching the Boy Scouts of America trying to find a way to respond to widespread criticisms of their national policy which bans gay scouts and leaders, while retaining the support of those who strongly favor that existing policy, has been like watching an Elected take a cautious, try-to-please-both-sides-of-the-aisle strategy. In short, the change BSA is “exploring,” is to end the national policy banning gays, enforced from the top, by replacing it with a policy which allows the inclusions or exclusion of gays to be made by each chapter. As I wrote earlier, that’s a “change for the better, but not a full-fledged support of equality.”

The BSA is asking for feedback, before making a decision. Among other responses on whether the ban should be maintained, is one from the Human Rights Campaign :

Boy Scouts of America: Not Good Enough

The Boy Scouts of America is considering ending its nationwide ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

But the policy is not good enough — it would simply allow local units to decide on their own whims whether to turn members away just for being gay.
That doesn’t sound friendly, courteous or kind….

Tell the Boy Scouts of America that lifting the ban is not enough; they must adopt an official non-discrimination policy.

Letter: …

I support your effort to make the Boy Scouts of America a slightly more accepting organization. But any policy that ends the ban on gay Scouts and leaders but doesn’t institute an official non-discrimination policy across the organization is unacceptable. …

Metro Weekly provides one of many reports about other responses to BSA.

Anti-gay groups pressure Boy Scouts to uphold discriminatory gay ban

Supporters of the ban on gay members and leaders in the Boy Scouts of America are mobilizing after news that the organization is considering lifting the longstanding ban. …

In an interview with Perkins on Tuesday, John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council said ending the ban would ‘open the door and allow openly gay leaders and boys to flourish.

‘There are so many young people today in high school and public school especially who are acting out homosexuality just because it’s the popular and cool thing, so you’re going to have lots of crazy stuff happening with boys.’

Of course American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer offered his usual kind of assessment. According to MetroWeekly, Fischer said:

… the BSA was on a ‘suicide mission’ with its decision to explore lifting the ban. Fischer repeated an argument long waged by supports of the BSA’s discriminatory ban, falsely claiming that lifting the ban on gay members and leaders would open the doors to pedophilia … .

At Houseblend, Alvin McEwen writes:

Believe it or not, … Fischer doesn’t even come close to winning the top prize of homophobia on display.

That award goes to his AFA colleague Buster Wilson who … (presented a) detailed scenario of children at the mercy of so-called evil gay Scoutmasters:

‘Imagine with me a troop of young boys, ranging in ages from 12-16. These young boys are going to be out in the woods, away from their parents … 2-4 days, nights, depending on what time of the year it was. They will sleep in pairs or threes, in sleeping bags, in tents or out in the open. They will shower and wash in the creeks or lakes that outline their camp site. It would be nothing for boys to wonder about with their shirts off, or sometimes just in their underwear or swim suit … .

Now, you could say that I am setting up a scenario that is just my own …, that our homosexual friends want nothing more than to lead these young men to maturity and personal growth and I’m evil for believing that such horrible thoughts could actually become reality. But then, I would refer you … to my friend Bryan Fischer’s latest article where he reminds us all of the Jerry Sandusky story.’

The MetroWeekly article includes a quote from Freedom to Marry President Evan Wolfson:

‘Changing the policy would be a step in the right direction, but while an ‘allow discrimination’ local option is better than mandatory national discrimination, it still sends a harmful message to both gay and non-gay youth. The right answer is to be open to all boys, without discrimination, period.’

Check out the HRC link, if you want to add your name to the letter to be sent to BSA Board members. They could be making their decision next week.

(Boy Scout Not Good Enough via HRC)

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