Troop 98 has stood by its openly gay Scoutmaster in the face of the national organization’s attempt to remove him for being an “avowed homosexual.”[…]
The Boy Scouts of America has revoked the charter for one troop because its sponsoring church refused to discriminate. The troop has stood by its openly gay Scoutmaster in the face of the national organization’s attempt to remove him for being an “avowed homosexual.”
Geoff McGrath, an openly gay 49-year-old Eagle Scout, started a Boy Scout troop a few months later, in the Rainier Beach section of Seattle, Washington. The chartering organization, an LGBT-inclusive United Methodist Church, reportedly encouraged McGrath to take the volunteer position, well aware of his record pro-equality activism.
Another reason for the Boy Scouts to lift its ban on openly gay adults serving in their organization.
Geoff McGrath believes he is the first openly gay Scoutmaster to be removed since the BSA’s controversial ballot ruling last year that allowed gay youth — but not gay adults — to pa…
Forty-nine-year-old Geoff McGrath, leader of Troop 98 in Seattle’s Rainier Beach, is reportedly the first gay troop leader to be removed from the Boy Scouts of America.
The Boy Scouts’ National Council voted last year to allow gay youth to participate as of Jan. 1, but not gay adults.
NBC News had been working on a story about Troop 98 when this statement was released from the BSA yesterday:
The BSA claimed McGrath “deliberately injected” his sexuality into the organization by speaking to NBC.Staff / Reuters
Sharon Moulds, a member of the Seattle BSA Council, claimed she only was made aware of McGrath’s sexual orientation when NBC News contacted her.
It was then that we became aware of his intentions to make a public statement about his orientation and use our program as a means to further a personal agenda.
McGrath, who has been with his husband for 20 years, claimed he never hid his sexual orientation from Scouting leaders when applying for the leadership position.
Rainier Beach United Methodist Church was the troop’s charter partner and Rev. Monica Corsaro insisted McGrath serve as Scoutmaster for the inclusive troop.
It is BSA policy not to inquire about sexual orientation during the application for a leadership position. Spokesman Deron Smith said in an email to NBC:
Our policy is that we do not ask people about their sexual orientation, and it’s not an issue until they deliberately inject it into Scouting in an inappropriate fashion […] We spoke with Mr. McGrath today and based on the information he provided, the National Council has revoked his registration.
“They are complaining that the problem is a distraction to Scouting and they don’t seem to understand that the distraction is self-inflicted,” McGrath stated.
“It’s extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership.”
McGrath has not yet received official word of his dismissal. “I’ll continue to serve as Scoutmaster of Troop 98 until I’m relieved of my responsibility by the Pastor,” he wrote on his Facebook.
Source: Sarah Karlan for Buzzfeed
Among the ten arguments are offensive lies and stereotypes about gay people, as well as arguments that aren’t even substantively relevant:
1. Allowing Gay Scouts But Not Leaders Is Inconsistent
This argument is actually valid, making it one of the weakest presented in the letter, because it supports an inclusive policy for all Scouts and leaders, not a continuation of the ban. The only inconsistency in the membership policy is that it excludes people who are gay (and atheist). On My Honor may even be correct that the inconsistency “will surely draw an equal protection lawsuit,” but that is the fault of the Boy Scouts of America for trying to cling to some form of discrimination.
2. Boy-On-Boy Sexual Contact Will Increase
This argument conflates sexual orientation with sexual behavior, while promulgating the myth that people who are gay are predatory. The implication is that gay teenagers should never even be allowed to go camping because they’re a threat to their straight friends. Such fear-mongering serves only to further demonize the gay community.
3. All Troops Will Have to ‘Facilitate Open Homosexuality’
This isn’t a new argument; it’s merely a complaint derived from a desire to discriminate.
4. So Many Will Leave In Protest That The Scouts Will Collapse
If “tens- and possibly hundreds of thousands of parents and Scouts” leave the BSA, as On My Honor suggests they will, it’s an insult to the very integrity of the program to begin with. Rather than supporting the many values and lessons the Scouts stand for, these individuals will prove their only reason for participation in the Scouts was because the organization is anti-gay.
5. Parents Will Lose Their Right To Shield Their Kids From Learning About Gay People
Like argument #2, this claim relies on the false assumption that being gay automatically makes an individual somehow more “sexual.” Having gay Scouts will not increase the level of discussion about sex anymore than having straight Scouts does. Even a “17-year-old gay activist openly flaunting his sexuality and promoting a leftist political agenda” would honor the Scouts’ commitment to improving society by being helpful, friendly, courteous — and particularly brave.
6. The Scouts Are Caving To Pressure From Society
On My Honor is disappointed that it was just last year that the Scouts decided that banning gay Scouts was “the absolute best policy,” but now “BSA’s top leadership is more concerned about what is popular in the polls taken outside the Scouting family.” When that decision was made, the Scouts refused to explain it, likely because there is no sensible justification for it. Since then, the organization has lost the corporate sponsorship of Intel, UPS, and Merck, so it’s not surprising its leaders became less attached to a policy they couldn’t even defend.
7. Units Who Don’t Comply Will Be Legally Vulnerable
Like argument #1, this concern simply reveals the inconsistency of allowing gay Scouts but not leaders. When the Supreme Court ruled in favor of BSA’s policy in 2000, Chief Justice William Rehnquist argued that the BSA engages in “expressive association.” If that expression is applied inconsistently, it would no longer define — or protect — the organization. This argument is simply a redundant concern that units will no longer be able to get away with discrimination.
8. The Policy Will Allow ‘Transgendered Girls’ In the BSA
First of all, transgender girls would probably be more interested in the Girl Scouts, which they’re actually welcome to join. Contrary to On My Honor’s fears, gender identity has nothing to do with sexuality whatsoever. Transgender boys should be allowed to join the Boy Scouts, but that form of inclusion is not addressed by this policy. The language “sexual preference” in the proposed change is disappointing, but only because it’s inaccurate nomenclature for sexual orientation.
9. Language In The Resolution Is Merely Symbolic
On My Honor seems to think it’s consequential that the “whereas” statements that justify the resolution will not be part of the policy once it’s approved. It apparently has no qualms about putting forth its own symbolic arguments.
10. Many In the Scouting Family Support Discrimination
On My Honor conveniently ignores the most recent survey that specifically addressed the policy on gay Scouts to cite an older survey with less supportive results. Still, trying to argue a “moral” point from a claim of popularity compromises what moral integrity the position even has.
It’s unclear if On My Honor represents anybody other than its founder, John Stemberger. Nevertheless, other anti-gay organizations like the Family Research Council are supporting his efforts. Through this open letter, he has shown not only a lack of understanding but a significant antipathy for the gay community.
h/t: Think Progress LGBT
Linda Homo-Hating Harvey: Gay-Inclusive Boy Scouts Will foster 'Destructive Psychological Dynamics' (audio)
After writing a column for WorldNetDaily reprimanding the Boy Scouts of America for proposing a policy to lift the ban on gay members under the age of eighteen, Linda Harvey of Mission America took to the airwaves today to warn Scout leaders that such a move will “betray children” and engender “destructive psychological dynamics” within the organization. She alleged that homosexuality is a “high-risk and sinful lifestyle” and that gay scouts will inevitably try to have “physical and sexual contact” with their “fellow troop members who may not welcome this attention.”
NEW YORK — Under pressure over its longstanding ban on gays, the Boys Scouts of America is proposing to lift the ban for youth members but continue to exclude gays as adult leaders.
The Scouts announced Friday that it would submit this proposal to the roughly 1,400 voting members of its National Council at a meeting in Texas the week of May 20.
Earlier, the BSA had indicated it might give local Scout units the option of admitting gays as both youth members and adult leaders, or continuing to exclude them
The BSA said Friday it changed course due in part to results of surveys sent out this year to members of the scouting community.
Gay-rights groups have demanded a complete lifting of the ban. Some churches and conservative groups want it maintained.
Carly Rae Jepsen definitively tells the Boy Scouts not to call her because of their anti-gay policy.
This week, the executive board of the Boy Scouts of America will reconsider the organization’s policy of barring gay Scouts and leaders. As a result of this proposed change, many conservatives are urging the group to maintain its discrimination.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has written extensively about how the Boy Scouts affected his life, and he reiterated those thoughts to hundreds of Texas Scouts who gathered in the state House of Representatives on Saturday for their annual Report to State. Speaking to reporters afterward, Perry defended the discriminatory policy:
PERRY: Hopefully the board will follow their historic position of keeping the Scouts strongly supportive of the values that make Scouting this very important and impactful organization. I think most people see absolutely no reason to change the position and neither do I… To have popular culture impact 100 years of their standards is inappropriate.
Perry also disagreed that a change would make the Scouts more tolerant, claiming, “I think you get tolerance and diversity every day in Scouting.”
Fellow former presidential hopeful Rick Santorum has offered a similar screed against theproposed change in the Scouts’ policy, suggesting the board’s vote this week is “a challenge to the Scouts’ very nature” that will cause a “mass exodus,” “leaving the Scouts hollowed at its core.” Indeed, a whole coalition of anti-gay hate groups is calling on the Scouts’ to maintain the policy because of the false assumption that all homosexuals are pedophiles.
Religious Right Activists Fear Boy Scouts Will Soon Face 'Homosexual Indoctrination' | Right Wing Watch
Conservative leaders are continuing to rally opposition to a proposed plan to end the national ban on gay members in the Boy Scouts of America with warnings about pedophilia and “indoctrination.”
Family Research Council vice president Rob Schwarzwalder told Janet Mefferd yesterday that fathers cannot trust their sons to be around gay people.
Mefferd called gay rights advocates “totalitarian” for opposing the ban and lamented that the “violins are playing full blast” in the media when they cover stories about gay youths kicked out of the Boy Scouts.
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel said in a statement that “people like Jerry Sandusky” would be “permitted to be Scoutmasters” if the policy changes, adding, “To allow homosexual Scoutmasters or homosexual Scouts will put young boys at risk.”
Concerned Women for America started a letter-writing campaign against the move before gays attempt “to infiltrate the next generation.” The group even claimed that if gays are allowed to join the Boy Scouts, it would mean that “our religious liberties are being taken away”…somehow.2000 presidential candidate Alan Keyes in WorldNetDaily warned of “homosexual indoctrination” and “idolatry” in the Boy Scouts if they change the policy.
H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW
The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest private youth organizations, is actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions.
If adopted by the organization’s board of directors, it would represent a profound change on an issue that has been highly controversial — one that even went to the US Supreme Court. The new policy, now under discussion, would eliminate the ban from the national organization’s rules, leaving local sponsoring organizations free to decide for themselves whether to admit gay scouts.
“The chartered organizations that oversee and deliver scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with their organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” according to Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Boy Scouts’ national organization.
Individual sponsors and parents “would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families,” Smith said.
The discussion of a potential change in policy is nearing its final stages, according to outside scouting supporters. If approved, the change could be announced as early as next week, after the BSA’s national board holds a regularly scheduled meeting.
Only seven months ago, the Boy Scouts affirmed a policy of banning gay members, after a nearly two-year examination of the issue by a committee of volunteers convened by national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America, known as the BSA.
In a statement last July affirming the ban, its national executive board called it “the best policy for the organization.”
But since then, a scouting official said, local chapters have been urging a reconsideration. “We’re a grassroots organization. This is a response to what’s happening at the local level,” the official said.
“It’s an extremely complex issue,” said one Boy Scouts of America official, who explained that other organizations have threatened to withdraw their financial support if the BSA drops the ban.
While the national scouting organization sets broad policies, more than 290 local councils nationwide govern the day-to-day conduct of the more than 116,000 local organizations. Individual scouting troops are sponsored by religious and civic organizations that represent a diversity of views on the issue of allowing gay scouts and leaders.
It’s a good sign for America and the Boy Scouts of America by allowing gay scouts into the club. I expect that there will be a fundie/evangelical splinter group from the BSA (who prohibits atheists and agnostics) if this happens, similar to when the Girl Scouts of America in the early to mid 1990s decided to allow lesbians into the GSA and the substitution of “God” in their Promise.
The United Parcel Service has announced that it will no longer be donating to the Boy Scouts of America, indirectly referencing the organization’s now famous anti-gay policies as a primary reason for the break.
In the past, UPS has given as much as $167,000 to the Boy Scouts in a single year. Activist Zach Wahls and others urged UPS to stop funding the Boy Scouts after the organization recently decided to uphold a policy barring LGBT people from participating.
The company was reviewing its corporate giving policy for months and announced the following last week: “The UPS Foundation seeks to support organizations that are in alignment with our focus areas, guidelines, and nondiscrimination policy. UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies. These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion.”
BOOM. Boy Scout donors are dropping like flies. Money talks.
More bad news for the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), as a major donor has announced plans to sever funding to the organization on account of a controversial anti-gay policy.
The United Parcel Service (UPS), Inc. will soon adopt a non-discrimination policy that disqualifies the BSA from future funding, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) reports. UPS follows the Intel Foundation in withdrawing corporate sponsorship from the BSA, GLAAD officials note in an email statement.
"UPS and The UPS Foundation do not discriminate against any person or organization with regard to categories protected by applicable law, as well as other categories protected by UPS and The UPS Foundation in our own policies," UPS officials note on the company’s website. “These include, but are not limited to race, gender, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran or military status, pregnancy, age and religion.”
Among those to applaud the UPS move was Zach Wahls, the Iowa student whoseimpassioned pro-gay marriage speech to his state’s legislators became the most-watched political clip of 2011 on YouTube after going viral twice last year.
The petition also noted that UPS gave more than $150,000 to the Boy Scouts of America, despite the organization’s policy banning gay Scouts and leaders from participating, just two years ago.
The issue had been brought the forefront again after the case of Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio-based mother who was forced to resign as den leader of her son’s Tiger Scout group because she is a lesbian.
For more than 80 years, the Boy Scouts of America have been keeping tabs on suspected pedophiles. Today, some 20,000 pages of those documents from 1966 to 1985 will go public in a searchable database, giving us a glimpse of exactly how “safe” the Boy Scouts kept their boys. There are around 1,250 Scout volunteers across the country named in those files. But the Boy Scouts aren’t making their files public out of the goodness of their heart, they’re doing so because there’s a court-order to release those files—a court order which came after a $20 million judgment the Scouts were ordered to pay by a jury which found that the Scouts failed to protect six boys (now men) from an assistant Scoutmaster who had admitted to molesting other scouts and a Los Angeles Times investigation in which found that the Scouts had kept abuses to themselves. “In about 400 of those cases — 80 percent — there is no record of Scouting officials reporting the allegations to police,” reported The Los Angeles Times's Kim Christensen and Jason Felch in September. On October 1, when the release of the files were announced, the Scouts promised to go over the files report pedophiles they might have missed to police.
RELATED: Boy Scouts Promise to Report the Pedophiles They Didn’t
The “online database will include the name, troop, date of the accusation and a brief description. Click on the links and you’ll be able to see some 15,000 pages of the Scouts’ documentation, with the names of victims redacted,” reports The Seattle Times's Maureen O'Hagan. The pages will be made public after a press conference Thursday.
H/T: Yahoo! News
Bigoted Scouts of America Lunacy: Teen denied Eagle Scout for disobeying ‘duty to God’ by being gay | The Raw Story
The Boy Scouts of America on Thursday said that they had denied a gay California teen Eagle Scout honors because he had not lived up to the principle of “duty to God” with his sexual orientation. The Scoutmaster for Troop 212 in Moraga decided that Ryan Andresen was “no longer eligible for membership…
The Boy Scouts of America announced today that it will continue its long-standing policy of discrimination against LGBT scouts and scout leaders and will take no action on proposals to reconsider that policy. This comes despite growing pressure to lift the ban from Eagle Scouts, an Ohio mom removed from her position as a Cub Scout den leader purely because she is a lesbian, and two prominent national board members.
A spokesman said a secret 11-person committee, appointed in 2010 to study the issue, “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts.” The group dismissed the announcements by Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, both members of the BSA national board, that the group ought to lift its ban.
Last month, the BSA said that a resolution introduced in April proposing that local chartering units be able to determine whether to welcome LGBT participants and leaders would be “handled with respect.” With no apparent board consideration, the group says it will take no further action on the proposal.
The Boy Scouts of America is considering a newly proposed resolution that calls for ending a 102-year-old policy they’ve grappled with in recent years: banning gay scouts and scout leaders, gay advocates told msnbc.com on Wednesday. Though the organization said it would review the proposal, a spokesman insisted there were no plans to change the policy.
The new policy would throw out the national ban and allow local chartering organizations to decide whether or not they would accept gay youth and leaders, said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout who has advocated for the change, citing unidentified people he spoke to within the organization.
Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith said a resolution to amend the national policy to allow each of the Scouting’s chartered groups to set its own standards regarding gay members was turned in by a voting member before April 30, the deadline for submitting resolutions. He said the resolution was read on May 31 at their national annual meeting.
“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 (the justices sided with the Boy Scouts in the lawsuit involving a former Assistant Scoutmaster who was gay, citing the protections of the First Amendment).
Wahls, the son of a lesbian couple, last Wednesday delivered a petition bearing 275,000 signatures calling for an end to the 102-year-old policy and the reinstatement of Jennifer Tyrrell to her post as den mother after she was ousted in April because she is gay.
Wahls said he was “absolutely ecstatic” when he heard about the proposal to change the policy, saying it would be akin to the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.
He also 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.”
Still, Wahls said he has had conversations with a number of people inside the organization, as well as an outpouring of support from current and former scouts, and he was “feeling very positive about where we’re at.”
“At the end of the day, the BSA’s about teaching young people the values and lessons that they need to know to serve and lead our fellow Americans and those values are not conservative or liberal,” said the 20-year-old, of Iowa City, Iowa, who became known nationally after speaking before his home state’s legislature in 2011 about having gay parents.
He noted that he thought ending the policy could help boost membership numbers and would go a long way to “restoring the BSA to its former mantle of moral leadership in this country.”