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Religious Tolerance logo

About the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)

2012-JUL: Secret BSA committee reviews policy
on gays and decides to retain it unchanged. Part 2.

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This topic is continued from Part 1

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Reactions to the announcement, pro and con (Cont'd):

  • Richard Ferraro, vice president for communications with the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAD) said:

    "The Boy Scouts of America is one of the last cultural institutions to have discrimination as part of their policy. ... Prohibiting or ejecting gay children or leaders sends a dangerous message to all children. It’s policies like this that contribute to bullying in schools." 1

  • Andrew Rosenthal, editor of the editorial page of the New York times, commented in an Op Ed piece titled "Don't ask, Don't tell, Don't think:"

    "I don’t suppose I need to point out that this decision is the result of pure bigotry. The BSA took care of that with a prepared statement that treats homosexuality like a mental illness -- one that members should handle 'within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and setting.'

    So I’ll just focus on the fact that it’s ridiculous. First, there are scout leaders and scouts who are gay. That was the universally known if unspoken truth when I was a cub scout in the 1960’s, and it’s the truth today.

    All this affirmation of existing hostility means is that gay scouts and leaders will have to go on lying to their friends and bosses in violation of the Boy Scout Oath. 'Morally straight' does not mean sexually straight. As the Scouts will tell you at every opportunity, it means 'to live your life with honesty, to be clean in your speech and actions, and to be a person of strong character.'

    Hard to do that when you’re hiding such a fundamental, and harmless, fact about yourself. One of the reasons the military wanted to get rid of 'don’t ask, don’t tell' was that it required gay and lesbian solders to lie every day to their superior officers." 2

  • Michelangelo Signorile, a SiriusXM radio host, commented:

    "The Boy Scouts had a chance to redeem itself, but it should now be considered an enemy of civil rights and a reckless organization whose actions are furthering bullying and discrimination in America. Any parents in good conscious must realize what they are a party to by enrolling their kids in an organization whose policies would help drive the hostility and violence that gay kids experience every day in this country. And any corporation or organization that associates with the Boy Scouts must be made to realize the ugliness it is party to as well." 3

  • The Patriot-News Editorial Board of PennLive/Central PA wrote:

    "The Boy Scouts continue to enjoy incredible community support based on its good works despite the black eye. Local civic organizations provide Scout troops complimentary meeting space and fundraising assistance. State and local elected officials regularly attend Eagle Scout courts of honor. And local governments routinely collaborate with Scouts on service projects. Scouting is a part of our fabric of life. It’s seemingly as American as a Norman Rockwell painting.

    But unlike Girl Scouts of the USA, which openly embraces children of all genders and sexual orientations, BSA continues to assert its right to bar those it deems unclean.

    BSA is wrong to limit membership based on, as it wrote, boys or men being 'open or avowed homosexuals.' If people of all sexual orientations are able to fight and die for our freedoms in the military, they should be able to learn how to tie a square knot at a Scout meeting. ..."

    "We call for the board of the United Way of the Capital Region to review the Program Partner status of BSA’s New Birth of Freedom Council, based in Mechanicsburg, considering UWCR’s code of ethics states it 'value(s) diversity in all aspects of UWCR activities and respect(s) others without regard to sexual orientation.'

    There’s the rub.

    The Boy Scouts can’t have it both ways. If it decides to keep Scouts 'morally straight' and 'clean,' it is sending the wrong message to not only boys but to the community as a whole that some people should be excluded. Community partners must consider that.

    This could have been an important moment for the Boy Scouts of American, a time to show and teach tolerance and respect for others. After all, that, too, is as American as a Rockwell painting." 4

  • Liberty Counsel issued a tweet linking homosexual orientation with pedophilia and hebephilia: "Congratulations! Boy Scouts affirm natural family! They will continue to protect young boys from homosexual..." 5

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2012-APR: A related event: Ohio mother excluded from the Scouts:

Jennifer Tyrrell from Ohio is the mother of a 7-year-old cub scout and was the den mother of a local group. She is a lesbian and was expelled from the organization during 2012-APR., an on-line forum, is hosting a petition urging the BSA to reinstate Tyrrell and change their membership policies. The petition has received more than 300,000 signatures. She delivered the petition to the BSA national headquarters in Irving, TX on 2012-JUL-18.

She said:

"This movement doesn't stop because 11 anonymous men behind closed doors made a decision to keep discrimination in place,” Tyrrell said. “This petition may have started out for me and my son, but it's grown into something much bigger. Something much more important. Today, when you read through the comments on my petition, you can read the stories of literally thousands of scouts, scout leaders and former scouts who are hoping the Boy Scouts of America will take this moment and end this policy of discrimination against gay Americans." 6

As of 2012-AUG-07, her petition has gathered 327,483 signatures.

APR-21 At the 23rd. Annual GLAAD Media Awards she said:

"The Boy Scouts are supposed to have a platform of tolerance, acceptance, and support -- values that drew my son Cruz to be a scout, and that drew me to want to be a den leader. Yet by continuing to dismiss gay youth and gay leaders from their organization, the Boy Scouts of America is failing these values, harming families and communities by sending a message that all are not welcome." 7

A BSA official confirmed that Ms. Tyrrell would continue to be excluded from the organization because of her sexual orientation.

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said:

"The only ‘character development’ and ‘values-based leadership training’ the Boy Scouts have taught our young people in this case is that blatant discrimination is OK. Tossing aside the hard work and leadership of a committed mom because of who she loves is not a ‘value’ that a majority of Americans want taught to their children." 7

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Erik Echholm, "Boy Scouts to Continue Excluding Gay People," New York Times, 2012-JUL-17, at:
  2. Andrew Rosenthal, "Don't ask, Don't tell, Don't think," Editorial Page blog, New York Times, 2012-JUL-17, at:
  3. Michelangelo Signorile, "Boy Scouts' Dangerous Message to Young Americans: Gay Kids Don't Measure Up," Huffington Post, 2012-JUL-18, at:
  4. Patriot-News editorial board, "Straight and narrow: Boy Scouts' gay policy is disappointing,", 2012-JUL-19, at:
  5. Liberty Counsel twitter postings, 2012-JUL-17, at:  This is a temporary listing.
  6. Seth Adam, "Jennifer Tyrrell delivers 300K signature to Boy Scouts calling for end to anti-gay ban," GLAAD, 2012-JUL-18, at:
  7. Aaron McQuade, "Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney: Gay people should be able to serve in Boy Scouts," GLAAA, 2012-APR-26, at: "

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Site navigation: Home page > Religious intolerance > Boy Scouts > here

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Copyright © 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Original posting: 2012-JUL-18

Latest update: 2012-AUG-07
Author: B.A. Robinson

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