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Boy Scouts lifting of gay ban only a start

Published: Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, January 29, 2013 00:01

The leaders of Boy Scouts of America are considering dropping their national policy that prohibits gay and lesbian scouts and scout leaders from joining the organization.

LGBT individuals will be able to join without ridicule and will not be vindicated until the Boy Scouts drop their
policy indefinitely and become entirely inclusive.


Lifting the national ban would only pass the black hat to the local sponsors and civic associations to don when deciding whether a scout or scout leader’s sexual
preference is any of the troop’s concern. Because other anti-gay civic organizations or religious groups sponsor many local Boy Scout troupes, the likelihood that the Boy Scouts will become completely inclusive is pretty slim.

For an organization that exists to help youth become more conscientious, responsible and productive members of society, the Boy Scouts have been — and continue to be — adamant in disallowing a part of society from joining their club. Discrimination in any form or fashion is wrong. The Boy Scouts are not protecting the children they serve by making it known that they choose to discriminate against an entire section of society.

Other youth organizations, such as Girl Scouts of America and 4-H, have included gay and lesbian members for years.

But the Boy Scouts have gone so far as to take their exclusivity to the Supreme Court in 2000, when former Eagle Scout and scout leader James Dale had his adult membership revoked after coming out as gay. The Supreme Court ruled that the group’s First Amendment right to expressive association was more important in the case than Dale’s right to a life free of discrimination.

The court’s ruling affirmed the Boys Scout’s exclusivity and resulted in a divide between the group and modern society, including some previous corporate sponsors.

UPS, the United Way, and other organizations have since halted their financial support of the organization.

Even if the national board does approve of lifting the ban, discrimination toward LGBT youth and leaders would not end.

The Boy Scouts need to reevaluate their ban. The belief they are supporting what they claim to be morally right is flawed, because it only forces young people to immorally judge others and exclude them. Including everybody is the only way the Boy Scouts can be the example of morality and character that they claim to be.

 

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