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Religious Tolerance logo

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) reconsiders ban on gay youths

2013-APR/MAY: Reactions by, editorial
in L A Times, Salt Lake Tribune, the U.S. public, etc.

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This topic is a continuation from the previous essay.

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Reactions by the web site:

This group was organized by John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council -- an anti-gay organization.

Their logo refers to "timeless values." It is true that denigration and oppression of women as well denigration and oppression of religious, racial, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity minorities are timeless. Examples are found throughout the Bible, Qur'an and other religious texts. However, they create a great deal of pain and misery in the world. A good case can be made that we should all attempt to eliminate them wherever they appear. A common expression in the LGBT community is that "hate is not a family value."'s motto is: "Keep sex and politics out of Boy Scouts." However, a good case can be made that the proposed change to the membership rules by the BSA executive committee does exactly that. By ending the exclusion of members on the basis of their sexual orientation, they are taking sex out of the organization. It would no longer be a requirement for membership that members be heterosexual. Existing youth members who are homosexual will no longer be immediately expelled from the organization whenever found.

They predict a number of negative effects if youth of all sexual orientations are allowed to become and remain members:

  • A massive loss of "parents, boys, troop, denominations, and sponsoring organizations."

  • Children will be hyper-sexualized by being exposed to open homosexuality.

  • A flood of lawsuits by activist groups will be launched against any sponsoring organizations that refuse to follow the new policy.

  • A large loss in revenue will cause layoffs, closing of camps, and cuts to other programs.

  • Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops will march in gay-pride parade with "salacious conduct and partial nudity."

  • "Physical, sexual and emotional abuse to countless boys" will result because of same-sex conduct among the youth members.

  • Boy Scout web sites will have links to other web sites "with inappropriate sexual and political content." 1 sent an email to its membership list on 2013-APR-26 titled: "Latter-Day Saints Church Issues Perplexing Non-Committal Statement On Openly Gay Boy Scout Resolution." It said, in part:

"The LDS church's statement is both perplexing and non-committal because it neither endorses nor condemns the proposed BSA resolution which requires every Scouting unit to accommodate open homosexuality among Boy Scouts who identify as openly gay. Regardless of what might be said about the decision-making process, we believe this cleverly-worded resolution tries to dodge criticism from gay activists but still creates a myriad of problems for how to manage and ensure the safety and security of the boys in the program. The current membership policy has stood the test of time and should remain as is and we call on all of those affiliated with the Boy Scouts to express their support for it. It is disappointing the LDS church did not give a more definitive statement and express concern for young boys in the BSA."

The term "open homosexuality" is used by many groups opposed to gays being allowed in the BSA. Although we have never seen a precise definition of the term, it seems to refer to a BSA culture in which members are free to identify their sexual orientation as homosexual without being instantly expelled from the organization. 2

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2013-APR-23: Comments by the Los Angeles Times:

The LA Times editorial board wrote in an editorial:

"Americans are turning a corner on gay rights, and slowly but surely, they seem to be dragging the Boy Scouts along behind them. Leaders of the organization recently proposed dropping its ban on openly gay Scouts, while continuing to prohibit gay adults from serving as scoutmasters. Although we're glad to see the Boy Scouts of America become more tolerant, however limited and belated that change is, it must waste no time before taking the next step as well. There is no valid reason to exclude gay troop leaders of either gender, and the Scouts' lack of acceptance smacks of old and ignorant prejudices against homosexuality.

It's true that the organization has been beset by past cases of molestation, but the belief that openly gay and lesbian adults are more likely than heterosexuals to be predators is based on thoroughly discredited myths. ..."

"... there was no way for the Boy Scouts to ignore the societal shift; it affects public support and, ultimately, corporate fundraising support.

Here's the funny thing about accepting diversity within the ranks: It tends to make people realize how unthreatening others really are. Fear and fiction dissipate. The entry of gay Scouts will almost certainly pave the way for welcoming gay adults into the organization's leadership. Just as the recognition of same-sex marriage in some states showed the nation as a whole that no one is harmed by gay rights, so too is the Boy Scouts likely to become more informed and thus more open. It's just a shame that this is taking so much time and external pressure." 3

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2013-MAY-01: "Trib Talk" discussion at the Salt Lake Tribune:

"Trib Talk" is an online panel discussion by the main newspaper in Utah. Jennifer Napier-Pearce led the episode on MAY-01 which dealt with the proposed revision to the BSA policy on admitting gay youth in the organization.

  • Paul Mero is president of Utah’s conservative think tank, the Sunderland Institute. He suggested that if the proposed change is implemented, that adult gay BSA leaders could have grounds for a lawsuit. It could be based on the resulting policy that gay youth be allowed in the BSA but that gay adults be excluded. He said:

    "If I was [sic] a member of the gay community, I would probably call the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) and I’d file another lawsuit, just to highlight the inequity of the whole idea."

  • Kendall Wilcox is a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS), an Eagle Scout, and is openly gay. He is also a member of Mormons Building Bridges -- a group within the LGBT community that is attempting to promote understanding between themselves and the LDS Church. He noted that the Church and BSA has had a close relationship for the past century. He said:

    "Scouting is enmeshed in the young men’s program in the church. I’d be a different person had I not been allowed to participate in Boy Scouts. I’m in favor and happy the church has chosen to express its support of this proposal. ... The BSA is a private organization and the Supreme Court has said as recently as [the year] 2000 that they have a right to set their own policies. For me, whatever they decide to do is their business. I can see why the Boy Scouts have settled on the compromise they have settled on. And I can also see why the gay community could be upset with that compromise." 4

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2013-MAY-01-05: Beliefs and opinions of the U.S. public:

A new Washington Post/ABC poll found that:

  • Concerning that part of the BSA plan that would allow gay youth to join:
    • 63% of American adults support the policy.
    • 32% are opposed.
    • 5% had no opinion or did not respond.

That is about a 2 to 1 margin in support!

  • Concerning that part of the BSA plan that would expel all scouts once they reach their 18th birthday, and would expel gay adult leaders:
    • 56% oppose the policy.
    • 39% support it.
    • 5% had no opinion or did not respond.

    • Among faith groups:
      • 56% of Roman Catholics oppose the policy -- the same as the national average.
      • 75% of Atheists, Agnostics, or NOTAs (None of the above) oppose it.
      • Protestants were split: 49% favored the ban while 47% opposed it. This margin well within the margin of error and is thus not statistically significant.

    • Among persons of different political affiliations:
      • 68% of Democrats and
      • 61% of Independents oppose the ban;
      • 61% of Republicans support the ban.

This poll contrasts with a 2012 poll by USA Today/Gallup where only 42% of those polled said that openly gay adults should be able to serve as leaders.

The poll was taken among 1,008 randomly selected adults, who were contacted by either cell phones or land lines. The margin of error is ±3.5 percentage points, which is typical of national polls. 5,6

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This topic continues in the next essay.

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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. "Impact of open homosexuality in Scouting,", 2013, at:
  2. "Latter-Day Saints Church Issues Perplexing Non-Committal Statement On Openly Gay Boy Scout Resolution." Email, 2013-APR-26.
  3. Editorial Board, "Scouting's too timid offer to gays," Los Angeles Times, 2013-APR-23, at:
  4. Ray Parker, "Trib Talk: Utahns react to Boy Scouts’ proposal on gay members," Salt Lake City Tribune, 2013-MAY-01, at:
  5. Scott Clement, "Most Americans support lifting ban on gay Boy Scouts," Washington Post, 2013-MAY-09, at:
  6. "Washington Post-ABC News poll May 1-5," Washington Post, undated, at:

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Home > Religious conflict > U.S. & Worldwide > Boy Scouts > Reconsider gays > here

or Home > Hot topics > Homosexuality & bisexuality > Homophobia > Boy Scouts > Reconsider gays > here

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Copyright © 2013 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance.
Original posting: 2013-APR-29
Latest updated: 2013-MAY-23
Author: B.A. Robinson

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