As you probably heard, the Boy Scouts of America recently upheld a longstanding ban on letting openly gay people join or volunteer. They claim to have done a two year internal evaluation on their policy of discrimination, but I seriously doubt it. This sends a message to kids that gay people, including gay kids, are different and not good enough to be involved in Boys Scouts or mentor youth, and that’s disgraceful. It turns out that a lot of people agree with me, particularly some high profile celebrities who are using their platform to speak out against The Boy Scouts. (Just as Steven Spielberg did back in 2001 when he resigned from their board for this reason. It’s 11 years later and it seems nothing has changed for them.) Here’s the story, thanks to Radar Online.
The Boy Scouts Of America cemented its controversial policy on Tuesday of not allowing open gays to become troop members, and RadarOnline.com can exclusively reveal the public discrimination has caused outrage among both gay rights activists and Hollywood stars.
The organization’s leaders reached the decision after a nearly two-year evaluation and will take no further action on a resolution that has sought a change in policy, it said in a news release, according to CNN.com.
The scouts’ vow of “not granting membership to open or avowed homosexuals” also restricts gays from being scout masters and adds fuel to the fire that was sparked in April after Ohio Cub Scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell was ousted from her son’s pack for being a lesbian.
“Hundreds of thousands of Americans including the corporate leaders of Ernst & Young and AT&T, current Eagle Scouts, and celebrities such as Hunger Games star Josh Hutcherson, Julianne Moore, Dianna Agron and Ricky Martin, have spoken out against the ban on gay scouts and gay scout leaders,” GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) spokesperson Rich Ferraro told RadarOnline.com in an exclusive interview.
“The only people being hurt by this ban is gay young adults who aren’t allowed to participate and children of gay parents whose moms and dads are unable to take part in their life,” he went on to reveal.
“The Boy Scouts of America are forcing parents to explain to their children why some people can’t be a part of their organization and should join the Girl Scouts of the USA, the 4-H Club, the Boys & Girls Club and the United States Military in ending this unfair discrimination.”
The gay community refuses to back down in their fight for equality, and on Wednesday Tyrrell and her 7-year-old son, Cruz, will deliver more than 300,000 signatures and comments from a Change.org petition to the Boy Scouts of America’s national headquarters in Dallas.
Tyrrell hopes Boy Scout leaders will meet with her for the first time and accept the signatures as well as consider reinstating her as den leader so her son can resume scouting, explained Ferraro.
On Sunday, Eric Jones, a 19 year-old Eagle Scout from Missouri who had been with the scouts for nearly 10 years, lost his job as a camp counselor after he came out as gay to his camp director. Jones’ confrontation will be featured in the upcoming documentary Second Class Citizens.
“Until this ban is lifted, the Scouts are putting parents in a situation where they have to explain to their children why some scouts and hard-working scout leaders are being turned away simply because of who they are,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick in a statement to Radar. “It’s unfair policies like this that contribute to a climate of bullying in our schools and communities. Since when is that a value worth teaching young adults?”
I completely agreed with GLAAD. I have a son who will be eight this year. Some of you may disagree with my stance on this, but I’ve told him that we’re not going to get involved with The Boy Scouts until they stop discriminating against gay people. He’s not particularly interested in joining Boy Scouts and has other activities he’s busy with anyway. I have a gay family member and this is something I feel strongly about. I want to pass on those values to my son and I feel that it would be against our family’s basic beliefs if we participated in that organization.
It’s worth noting that some local divisions of The Boy Scouts have defied the parent organization by issuing statements that gay and lesbian people are welcome to join and become scoutmasters. The largest Boy Scout group in Minnesota recently did this, which makes me wonder if they’ll face repercussions from the national organization.
In 2000, the Supreme Court upheld The Boy Scout’s right to discriminate based on sexual orientation. They remain a private organization, and from what I can find they don’t directly receive taxpayer or government money, although of course they use public facilities like schools free of charge.