Local Boy Scouts want change in sexual-orientation policy | March 29, 2013 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - March 29, 2013

Local Boy Scouts want change in sexual-orientation policy

Meetings and writing campaigns preface May vote on the issue by the national board

by Sue Dremann

The national Boy Scouts of America policy prohibiting homosexual people from becoming members or leaders is out of touch, parents and some scout leaders said after a meeting Monday night, March 25, on the topic of changing the organization's stance.

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Staff Writer Sue Dremann can be emailed at sdremann@paweekly.com.


Posted by PA Scout
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2013 at 9:00 am

Hooray for the local scout leaders who are pushing to change the BSA's antiquated and misguided membership policies.

Posted by parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Mar 29, 2013 at 9:04 am

Do local Boy Scout groups obey the bigotry policy? Or do they openly ignore it?

Posted by scout mom
a resident of Midtown
on Mar 29, 2013 at 9:31 am

BSA National charters the local Pacific Skyline Council. The Council claims that it "interprets" the policy against "open and avowed homosexuals" such that it is "don't ask don't tell" but it also admits that if National instructed it to expel a scout for being "open and avowed" it would do so. Pacific Skyline should reject this bigoted policy and pass a resolution like Mt. Diablo Council did to urge national to repeal the ban. Visit Scouts for Equality to learn more: Web Link

Posted by A boy scout is brave
a resident of Downtown North
on Mar 29, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I agree with @scout mom. Pac Skyline needs to come out of the closet and stand with the other Councils, like our neighbor Mt Diablo, who are publicly saying that bigotry has no place in scouting.

The anti-gay membership policy is a relatively new addition to scouting that was added secretly without a vote. When the Boy Scouts of America oath was adopted in 1911 a sentence was added to the oath that was not part of Baden Powell’s original oath. The BSA added, “To help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight.” In 1911 the term straight did not apply to sexuality. In 1911 straight meant law abiding. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the added meaning of heterosexuality did not come into the English lexicon until 1941.

The anti-gay membership policy was added secretly by the National BSA leaders in the late 80’s or early 90’s. There is no public record of when this occurred. It was never submitted to the councils for a vote. As far as I can tell BSA is the only scouting organization in the world to adopt this discriminatory policy.

The Mount Diablo Silverado Council (MDSC)board voted to publicly advocate for the removal of this discriminatory policy. Below is a quote from the MDSC National Membership Standards Review Committee report:

“Chartered Organizations have always and will continue to create Scouting Units that are consistent with their organizational faiths, standards and deeply held beliefs. However, we believe that the national BSA board should not pass this important decision from BSA’s governing body to Chartered Organizations. Rather, we believe that the national board should adopt a standard policy, consistent with the Scout Oath, Scout Law, and the principles documented within this report, which ends the isolation and exclusion of LGBT individuals.”

Here is a link to the full report and recommendations that were adopted in full by the MDSC board:

Web Link

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