2001-JAN-11: USA: Reform Jewish leaders have suggested that
parents remove their children from the Boy Scouts, and that synagogues
end their sponsorship of Scout troops, because of the group's
discrimination against gays.
2001-FEB-4: Denver, CO:Washington Park Church
terminated its 60-year association with the BSA by holding a "service
of separation" for the Scouts and the congregation. In
2000-OCT, Temple Emanuel synagogue decided to ban Scout meetings
from its premises. 1
2001-MAY: USA: Senator Jesse Helms (R-NC) has introduced an
amendment to S. 1, the education bill. It is called the "Boy
Scouts of America Equal Access Act." It would withdraw Department
of Education funding to government entities that do not offer the
BSA the use of public facilities on an equal basis with other groups.
Some school boards and local governments have refused to give the BSA
access to meeting rooms because the BSA discriminate against
homosexuals and non-theists.
2001-JUN-5: USA:Hampshire Community United Way, MA: The
United Way's board of directors decided to terminate funding for the
Great Trails Council, an organization which links together 120 Boy Scout
troops and Cub Scout packs in Hampshire, Franklin and Berkshire counties
in Massachusetts. Their reason was the national organization's ban on gay
leaders. The Council's annual budget of $500,000 will be reduced by
$16,000. Carolyn Jacobs, chairperson of the local United Way said: "Our
conclusion was that the Boy Scouts were not able to sign our nondiscrimination policy.
They could not go against the national organization."
2001-JUN-11: USA:Presbyterian Church (USA) The denomination is
holding its annual General Assembly in mid-June. According to
PCUSA News, The Assembly Committee on Christian Education and
Publishing has received two resolutions related to the BSA:
Resolution 01-11 encourages churches and other judicatories to
increase support for scouting worldwide.
Resolution 01-15, urges congregations to confer with Boy Scout
troops that use church facilities to discover if the leadership expels
gay people and urge them not to do so. It also urges congregations to
not allow their facilities to be used by organizations that
The Committee had been expected to reject one resolution and
forward the other to the General Assembly. Instead, the Committee
has recommended that the General Assembly refer both resolutions
to the divisionof the General Assembly that is already in
dialogue with the Boys Scouts of America. 2
2001-JUN: USA:Senate amendment about the BSA passes: By a close
52 to 48 vote, the Senate added an amendment to the Education Bill that
was introduced by Jesse Helms (R-NC). It is directed at public school
districts which restrict the usage of their facilities by sexist, racist
or homophobic groups from the community. Some such districts have
withdrawn permission for the BSA to use their facilities. The amendment
would terminate federal funding to any school district that denies the
use of their facilities because of the BSA's policy on homosexuals in
the organization. Jesse Helms said that the amendment was intended to
fight "the organized lesbians and homosexuals in this country of
ours." Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD) said that the
amendment would necessitate that school districts make a difficult
decision: "They could either disregard their own conscience or they
could follow their conscience and lose millions of dollars that their
schools and their children need. We believe in principled compromise,
but we cannot compromise on the fundamental issues of civil rights."
The Boxer amendment also passed. It would require public schools to
allow outside groups access to their facilities, regardless of their
position on sexual orientation.
2001-JUN-19: USA: PBS aired special on BSA: The Public
Broadcasting Service aired a program "Scout's Honor" which
dealt with the controversy over the BSA and the exclusion of gays. It
described the efforts of Steven Cozza, a heterosexual boy scout who
founded Scouting for All at the age of 12. Steve imagines a
scouting organization that accepts scouts of all religions and sexual
orientations. Unfortunately, the program coverage was lopsided, because
the BSA refused to be interviewed for the program. The program's
producer, Tom Shepard, said that Scoutís Honor "afforded a
number of opportunities to explore the shape of anti-gay bigotry in
America and the struggle to expunge it."
2001-JUN-25: USA: Focus on the Family update: "Focus" is a
Fundamentalist Christian organization devoted to social action. They
generally oppose equal rights and protection for homosexuals. Founder
Dr. James Dobson updated listeners to his weekday program with
information about the BSA. He reported that many of the United Way
agencies have terminated relationships with the BSA. In the past, this
has been the source of much of their funding. He recommended that
listeners contact the BSA headquarters, local Scout council, local
United Way office, and the national United Way office, supporting the
United Way. He suggested that his listeners threaten to boycott their
local United Way if they refuse to fund the BSA.
2001-JUN-28: USA: American Medical Association condemns BSA
indirectly: The AMA has adopted a new policy advisory. It says that
if youth organizations would drop policies excluding gays that it would
help "lower the risk of suicide in the adolescent homosexual
population." This appears to be a reference to the BSA; it is is the
only youth organization that has been recently featured extensively in
the media because of its exclusionary policies towards gay scouts and
scout leaders. An AMA spokesperson said that there was no other group
mentioned during internal deliberations over the advisory. Response from
Fundamentalist Christian groups was immediate:
Gregg Shields, national spokesman for the Boy Scouts, said: "We
respect the AMA and its members'...right to hold an opinion. We simply
ask them to respect our right to hold beliefs and values that are
different from theirs."
Peter LaBarbera, spokesperson for the Culture and Family
Institute, said: "What I would like to see is the AMA to come out
with a booklet on the many homosexual related health risks, especially
for boys and men."
Mike Haley, spokesperson for Focus on the Family said that many
sexually confused teens commit suicide because they have no hope that
they can change. "The students that I talk to deal with suicidal
feelings due to the fact that they don't believe that change is
possible. They're being told by society and by the gay movement that
homosexuality is genetic." 3
2001-JUL-2: USA: Eagle Scouts return badges: According to an
article in People Magazine with this date, over 70 Eagle Scouts
have returned their badges in protest over the ban over gays. Eagle
Scouting is a level that is only reached by about 3% of scouts.
2001-AUG-1: MA: Boston area council to allow gay leaders: The
Massachusetts Minuteman Council is one of the largest BSA councils in
the state, involving 18,000 scouts and 330 troops. They will
allow gay scoutmasters under a new "don't ask, don't tell"
policy. Brock Bigsby, Scout executive said, in reference to
interviews of prospective scoutmasters: "Discussions about sexual
orientation do not have a place in Scouts. The Scouts will not inquire into a person's sexual history,
and that person will not expose their sexual orientation one way or the
other." Eric Ferrero of the ACLU's Lesbian and Gay Rights
Project said: "To have a policy that takes sexual orientation off the
table entirely instead of making homosexuality seem like a dirty little
secret is encouraging and significant. And it sounds like what the group
has done is going to be difficult for the National Boy Scouts to oppose."
CovenantNews.com chose the heading "Open Season on Scouts"
for this news item.
2001-AUG-20: USA: Rumors of BSA becoming more inclusive: Onerumor, repeated by Mark Cowan of Focus on the Family, is that
the BSA has decided to not seek public funding. BSA spokesperson
Gregg Shields confirmed this policy, saying that: "We didn't want it
because there's too many strings attached." In a remarkable
development, the BSA has also agreed to listen to the concerns of
Safeguarding America's Values for Everyone (SAVE), -- a gay positive
organization. Shields explained: "What we agreed to do is we agreed
to listen (to SAVE's concerns). It's in the Scout Law that a Scout is
respectful. We are a part of (the) community with many people who don't
share our opinions and our values, so we did agree to listen."
2001-SEP-29: OH: Cleveland United Way stops funding BSA: The
Cleveland Chapter of the United Way decided to stop funding the
BSA. They will redirect
$268,000 to Learning for Life, a program that is
affiliated with the BSA but which does not prohibit gay men from being
leaders. "Nearly 50 United Ways across the country and a dozen
corporations have quit giving money to Boy Scouts of America since the
U.S. Supreme Court last year upheld the Scouts' right to reject