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Boy Scouts of America (BSA)

News items in the media, year 2003

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Year 2003 news items:

bullet 2003-MAY-30: The Boy Scouts of America held its national meeting in Philadelphia, PA. Their policies of discriminating against members and leaders on the basis of religious faith and sexual orientation were not included in the agenda. On MAY-29, about ten protestors were present outside the meeting. One was Boy Scout Gregory Lattera, 18, of Philadelphia, PA. He said: "It's painful, that something you love, people you care about, are ready to kick you out." An attendee at the meeting, Boy Scout Greg Heleniak, 18, of Blue Bell, PA., believes that the protesters have a right to speak out. But he said that "I think they have to respect our rights as an organization [to exclude gays and non-theists]...We've been around for 90 years. Scouting has produced many great leaders. I don't see any reason for changing it."

The local Boy Scout council, the Cradle of Liberty Council is the third largest in the U.S. with 87,000 members in Philadelphia and two neighboring counties. Earlier in May, they voted unanimously to add "sexual orientation" to its nondiscrimination policy. BSA headquarters spokesman Gregg Shields said that no decision had been made whether the Council would face disciplinary action. 1
bullet 2003-AUG-22: Sebastopol troop ejected: The Venture Crew 488 in Sebastopol CA was ejected from the organization by the Redwood Council because of their refusal to discriminate against homosexuals. Bev Buswell, a long-time Scout leader and local real estate broker was the lead advisor for the Venture Crew. She had issued a statement promising to not discriminate on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation. Local and national Scout officials say that all troops must bar gays and non-theists as members and leaders.

Sebastopol Councilor Linda Kelley brought a letter to a protest near the Redwood Empire Boy Scout Council office. The letter was signed by herself and three other council members and urged the council to reinstate Crew 488. She said of the protestors: "We support their efforts to make scouting as diverse as possible." 2
bullet 2003-OCT-7: OR: School board considering restricting BSA: Steven Wagenhoffer of Portland filed a complaint against his sons' public elementary school because it allows the BSA to distribute their promotional flyers to students. Wagenhoffer is gay, and objects to the BSA discriminating against both gays and non-theists. The school board's  Community and Staff Relations Committee will review non-school group activities in its buildings. In particular, the Boy Scout issue will be an item on the agenda. 3

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  1. "Boy Scouts avoid gay-policy fight," Associated Press, 2003-MAY-30, at:
  2. "Protest takes Scouts to task. Two dozen demonstrate after Sebastopol troop ejected over gay rights," 2003-AUG-22, The Press Democrat, Santa Rosa CAat:
  3. Hans Zeiger, "Boy Scouts threatened in Portland schools," WorldNetDaily, 2003-OCT-7, at:

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Copyright 2003 & 2004 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Latest updated: 2004-JUL-12
Author: B.A. Robinson

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