LGBT advocacy groups denounce Boy Scouts’ delay on anti-gay policy

LGBT advocacy groups denounce Boy Scouts’ delay on anti-gay policy

LGBT advocacy groups responded Wednesday to an announcement by the Boy Scouts of America that it would delay until May a decision on whether to end its longstanding policy that prohibits gay scouts and gay and lesbian scout leaders.

Referring the the growing controversy surrounding its anti-gay policy as simply as “this issue,” the Scouts released this statement:

For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing it’s youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.

After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.

To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.

The announcement comes just two days after former scouts and leaders delivered more than 1.4 million petition signatures to BSA headquarters in Irving, Texas, calling for an end to the anti-gay ban.

“An organization that serves youth and chooses to intentionally hurt dedicated young people and hardworking parents not only flies in the face of American principles, but the principles of being a Boy Scout,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick, in a statement Wednesday.

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“The Boy Scouts of America is choosing to ignore the cries of millions, including religious institutions, current scouting families, and corporate sponsors, but these cries will not be silenced. We’re living in a culture where hurting young gay people because of who they are is unpopular and discriminatory. They had the chance to end the pain this ban has caused to young people and parents, they chose to extend the pain,” said Graddick.

Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign, said that “every day that the Boy Scouts of America delay action is another day that discrimination prevails.”

“Young Americans, gay and straight, are hurt by the inaction associated with today’s news,” said Griffin, in a statement. “The BSA leadership should end this awful policy once and for all, and open the proud tradition of Scouting to all.”

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