On Jan. 28 the Boy Scouts of America announced that it would consider giving local troops the right to determine if they would allow openly gay members and leaders, a halfway measure reminiscent of the approach that the BSA used when it confronted membership of people of color.
Why, after reaffirming its ban on gay, bisexual and transgender scouts and scout leaders just last year, is the Boy Scouts of America even considering a reversal? Quite simply, its policies have placed it on the endangered organizations list.
The decision to allow openly gay scouts, or at least to allow local councils to allow gay scouts, shouldn't be a hard one. Ultimately, the BSA's own justifications for its anti-gay policy simply don't hold water. Here's a step-by-step breakdown.
After investing my youth in scouting, I was ejected from their ranks and my Eagle Scout badge was revoked because I'd come out as gay at 19 years old. I challenged this decision, and a decade later a divided Supreme Court sided with the Boy Scouts. I always knew it was a Pyrrhic victory.
Regardless of its history of discrimination, it turns out that Scouting has equipped a growing cadre of gay men with the integrity to stand up for equality, and equipped our straight brothers with the loyalty to take a vocal role in the fight.
Will recently started a Change.org petition asking Nat Geo to add a disclaimer to Are You Tougher Than a Boy Scout? stating their disagreement with the BSA's anti-gay policies. I had a chance to speak with Will recently, and I asked him a few questions.
The Boy Scouts of America have denied 17-year-old Ryan Andresen his Eagle pin because he came out as gay. My nephew Matt received his Eagle pin about 10 years ago, and his father Jeff, my brother-in-law, was a troop leader. I was curious about where Matt and Jeff stood on the issue.
It's time that we did more than sign Karen Andresen's petition to protest the recalcitrant Boy Scouts of America. Until the BSA changes its anti-gay, anti-humane policy, no synagogue, church or school should sponsor a Boy Scout troop.
The Boy Scouts of America claim to be "one of the nation's most prominent values-based organizations." My critical-thinking question is: What kind of values are they teaching our kids if they are discriminating against gay people?
Last week I decided to send my Eagle Scout medal back to the Boy Scouts of America in protest of their policy on homosexuality. The irony is that the Boy Scouts constantly emphasized tolerance and inclusion.
Because some of my husband's fondest boyhood memories come from his years within the Boy Scouts program, and because my son is currently a Cub Scout, we have sent yearly checks supporting the organization. But this year has been different.
Imagine if we could turn the Chick-fil-A outrage toward organizations that matter more. Our attention should be focused squarely on organizations that discriminate against our LGBT youth, chiefly the Boy Scouts of America.
Soon his friends will be Cub Scouts, and he may come to me and ask to join. Then Bruce and I will have the unpleasant task of sitting a little boy down and figuring out the least painful way of saying, "Baby, they don't want you." And my little boy will know firsthand what discrimination is.