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Boy Scouts says it has no plans to reverse ban on gays

Thursday, June 7, 2012

The Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday said it has no plans to end its 102-year-old policy banning gay scouts and gay and lesbian scout leaders, despite receiving an online petition containing more than 275,000 signatures urging a reversal of the anti-gay policy.

Last week, LGBT advocate Zach Wahls — an Eagle Scout and the son of lesbian parents — accompanied by officials from Change.org, delivered the a petition asking for the reinstatement of Jennifer Tyrrell, a volunteer den mother who was ousted from the group in April because she is lesbian.

In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Wahls said that he was told that the Boy Scouts is considering a newly proposed resolution that calls for ending the ban.

Robert Mazzuca, chief executive of the Scouts confirmed Wednesday a resolution was referred to a committee for review after receiving the petition last week, but told USA Today that “we have no plans at the moment to make any changes.”

The resolution to amend the national policy to allow each of the Scouting’s chartered groups to set its own standards regarding gay members was submitted by a Scout leader from the northeast before April 30, the deadline for submitting resolutions to the meeting, said BSA spokesperson Deron Smith.

Smith said Wednesday that it would review the proposal insisting there were no plans to change the policy.

Smith said that the BSA’s decision to accept the petition last week was “not related to the resolution,” and that doing so was out of respect for different points of view.

“While we’ll carefully consider this resolution, there are no plans to change this policy,” he said, noting that resolutions and petitions on the matter were “not unique” and dated back to 2000, when the Supreme Court heard a challenge over their stance — at that time, the justices sided with the Boy Scouts in the lawsuit involving a former Assistant Scoutmaster who was gay.

“There has been discussion about the BSA’s membership policy for decades. The BSA respectfully considers a wide range of views on this issue. Scouting has concluded its longstanding policy reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA’s members,” Smith said.

“Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its youth program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right.”

Smith noted that other resolutions had been introduced in the past “admonishing us to not change the policy. We have millions of youth and adult members each with a variety of beliefs about this issue and no single policy will accommodate everyone’s views.”

Nevertheless, Wahls told MSNBC that he was “absolutely ecstatic” when he heard about the resolution to change the policy.

“Clearly this shows that there’s a little bit more internal discussion than they might be outwardly describing, so in a very real sense this was in a lot of ways kind of the best possible, most realistic outcome of that delivery of that Change.org petition,” Wahls said.

“Up to the day they end this policy, they’ll be saying they have no plans to do so,” he added. “But there’s no question it’s costing the Boy Scouts in terms of membership and public support.”

Smith said that the resolution has been referred to a committee for review, and that it would report back to the national executive board. The board then decides what actions are “appropriate,” he said.

The process would likely be completed by May 2013, Smith said.

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16 more reader comments:

  1. And my boys won’t be in it until they learn some tolarance. I will NOT put my boys into an organization that discriminates.

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:03am
  2. This is why we go for the federal laws that support this kind of discrimination. Change the federal laws, then the state and county level will be forced to reverse some of its practices. =)

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:04am
  3. That’s ridiculous. Homosexuality is attraction to the same sex, not specifically attraction to children that happen to be the same sex.

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:04am
  4. that’s because the pedofiles would have fewer opportunities to volunteer

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:05am
  5. It is simple reaslly: do not allow your children to be part of such a bigoted, intolerant organization. Let the Boy Scouts learn its lesson the hard way. When the numbers of participants continue to decrease and they are desperate for members, perhaps then they will either change their policy or allow themselves to ignorantly fade away into history.

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:06am
  6. Wow really.

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:12am
  7. Discrimination rears It’s hateful head once again.

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:14am
  8. Camp Quest ftw

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:21am
  9. Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:21am
  10. Yay Oklahoma finally got Camp Quest, its an awesome program

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:31am
  11. Theyre always prepared. For bigotry.

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:32am
  12. It’s the ones that don’t admit that they are but we have to worry about

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:39am
  13. Whatever. I really don’t know that there are so many gay boys that want to get out in the woods with the bears, poison ivy, and mosquitos anyway.

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:53am
  14. What a great example to set. If you’re not just like us, you can’t get in! What are they, Mormons?!

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:53am
  15. kinda fiquered that

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 7:59am
  16. Let’s boycott the Boy Scouts. They’re not doing anything productive anyway.

    Posted on Thursday, June 7, 2012 at 3:56pm