Report: Boy Scouts may drop ban on gay scouts, scout leaders

posted at 5:44 pm on January 28, 2013 by Allahpundit

A case study in why (most) gay-marriage supporters won’t despair even if SCOTUS ends up upholding Prop 8 this year: Over time, cultural change will help them achieve what courts can’t or won’t. The Scouts won an epic Supreme Court discrimination case in 2000 protecting their right as a private organization to exclude members based on orientation. A little more than a decade later, they may be ready to jettison the ban and let the local sponsors and parents involved with individual Scout units decide whether gays should be admitted. (Call it the “federalist approach.”) How come? Pressure, from both within and without. But mostly without:

Two corporate CEOs on BSA’s national board, Randall Stephenson of AT&T and James Turley of Ernst & Young, have also said they would work to end the ban. Stephenson is next in line to be the BSA’s national chairman. During the 2012 presidential campaign, both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney said the BSA should admit gay scouts and scout leaders.

About 50 local United Way groups and several corporations and charities have concluded that the ban violates their non-discrimination requirements and have ceased providing financial aid to the Boy Scouts. An official of The Human Rights Campaign, an advocate for gay rights, said HRC planned to downgrade its non-discrimination ratings for corporations that continue to give the BSA financial support.

“It’s an extremely complex issue,” said one Boy Scouts of America official, who explained that other organizations have threatened to withdraw their financial support if the BSA drops the ban.

Curious that the Scouts aren’t worried about counter-boycotts by more socially conservative organizations. Maybe they should be:

The Southern Baptist Convention views homosexuality as sinful based on scripture and not acceptable as normal behavior, Mohler said. Ending a national policy on gays would raise a question in the mind of every Scout’s parent and require families to research the policy of each Scout troop and sponsoring organization before joining, he said.

“This is going to raise a fundamental question for the Southern Baptist Convention at national level and in the churches” about whether to reconsider a decades-old relationship with the Boy Scouts, Mohler said.

While that decision would be up to individual Southern Baptist churches, Mohler said: “I’m quite assured that those churches will be reconsidering that relationship if this policy goes into effect.”

Yeah, the key question here obviously is whether the “federalist approach” can satisfy either side or whether individual units’ decision to admit/deny gay Scouts will trigger a national ban of the BSA by some groups. Mohler seems to be hinting that it will in that excerpt (“at the national level”); a GLAAD spokesman who talked to USA Today called the new Boy Scout proposal a good “first step,” so presumably they’re hoping for further action (like, say, an order from the national board requiring individual Scout units to admit gays?) too. According to CNN, 70 percent of Boy Scout troops are affiliated with a church or religious group, but “some Scouts and Scout parents say that passing the decision to the local level will have little effect on the ground, because many troops have been ignoring the national policy anyway.” How that shakes out under the new policy, I don’t know. Does it actually end up being counterproductive by re-energizing a divisive issue at which most troops were already looking the other way?

Exit quotation from the GOP’s last presidential nominee: “‘I feel that all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts, regardless of their sexual orientation,’ Romney said in the video from 1994 recently re-surfaced by the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. He added at the time that he supports ‘the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue.'”

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Comment pages: 1 2 3 4

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 5:50 AM

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 6:05 AM

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 6:08 AM

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 7:26 AM

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 7:33 AM

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 7:39 AM

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 7:50 AM

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 9:09 AM

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 9:09 AM

It’s nice you found an issue you care deeply about. Besides bashing Palin, and bashing people insufficient worshipful of Mitt.

tom on January 29, 2013 at 11:41 PM

You guys act like there is going to be a huge increase of molestations if gays are knowingly allowed to be a part of the organization.

Was the ban holding back men from preying on children? I doubt it!

bluegill on January 29, 2013 at 5:50 AM

Then you are dumb as a bag of hammers. If the ban were ended, a pedophile would easily be able to infiltrate the Scout unit, and would be able to “groom” his marks without fear of retaliation. He could easily claim protected status while doing this by claiming he is “gay”. He could not be kicked out until he is caught in the act of buggering one of the scouts – which would be (for the scout) too late.

Just the fact of having a flamboyantly gay leader would facilitate the grooming process by making homosexual acts seem “normal”.

SubmarineDoc on January 30, 2013 at 2:24 AM

Apparently, nobody remembers that ban has to do with a bunch of molestations by gay Scoutmasters that actually occurred, in the 70’s and 80’s? Including not only sexual acts, but in some cases, brandings?

q2600 on January 30, 2013 at 3:36 AM

while you don’t have to belong to the particular church who charters the troop, it still centers around the religious believes of the sponsor organization.

Rusty Allen on January 29, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Not in our case. We’re chartered by a Presbyterian church. And we have only one family in the entire pack that are members of that church.

We have parents who are Methodists, Catholics, Anglicans and Jews. We even have an Atheist, whose reason for participation is that scouting builds character and he’s cool with his son forming religious beliefs, should he so choose.

Therefore, we’re nondenominational with our prayers. Our scouts have even made presentations on their own faiths.

Our charter organization is pretty mellow about all this. We’re a JTE Gold Unit, so they’re just pleased we provide a top notch program.

Cricket624 on January 30, 2013 at 7:37 AM

Regarding who is more likely to molest – heteros or gays – that’s not a statistically relevant argument. Just for argument’s sake, assume both groups have the same rate of molestation. In both cases, one would assume that the molesters would seek out vulnerable target rich environments, insert themselves in a supportive way and make an effort to build a good reputation. This gives them abundant opportunity with a shield against suspicion.

Therefore, organizations and groups that possess the targeted populations, like schools and scout packs and troops should expect that the pecentage of potential molesters in their leadership and support staff shall be higher than in the general population.

Put another way, after this rule passes, there shall be a higher percentage of gay predators in the leadership of BSA units than in the general population of the country.

And the tools we have to protect our boys from them will have been stripped away.

Cricket624 on January 30, 2013 at 7:49 AM

So essentially the Boy Scouts are going out of business. What responsible parent wouldlet their child join?

Ellis on January 30, 2013 at 12:11 PM

I am glad my kids are older now. Scouts were good for me but I would not be a party of it today.

FireBlogger on January 30, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Some Scout Troops do tend to be more closely aligned with their chartering organization then others. The LDS Troops tend to be exclusively LDS kids. Catholic Troops tend to be more Catholic than not. In my experience the Protestant Troops tend to be more of a mixed bag. My Troop is sponsored by my Lutheran Church and our membership is about 1/4 Lutheran, from talking with other leaders in other Protestant sponsored Troops that is about average and maybe even a little high. And of course not all Troops are sponsored by churches some are sponsored by Lions Clubs, the Elks, and other civic organizations.

All BSA leaders are not men. Women can serve in any position in the Troop including Scoutmaster. The BSA also has a co-ed program for HS to College aged kids called Venturing. The smaller Explorer program is also co-ed. Venture Crews can be co-ed, all male or all female. It is up to the sponsoring organization on how they are setting up the Crew. Our Crew is co-ed but we don’t allow any dating while out on outings. Some of our kids have dated, not while on outings, and some have gone on to marry as adults. We just want to keep the relationships off of the weekend outings. Day or night Venturers are not allowed into an opposite sex tent for any reason. If this rule is broken both youth are dismissed from the Crew. Adults can not tent with any unrelated youth member for any reason.

Following the Youth Protection policies of the BSA helps protect the youth from adults that would do harm. No system is perfect as we’ve found in other organizations that deal with youth in addition to the BSA. The key difference between now and the 1970’s is they don’t just dismiss the offender and let them pop up elsewhere. The BSA involves law enforcement right away and the person would be barred from participating in the BSA program nationwide.

I suspect the BSA is studying this very closely and putting the onus on the charter organization is a nod to the more social conservative churches to say to them if you don’t want gays in your troop that is fine with us. I’m sure they have been talking a lot with the LDS leadership as they are the largest sponsoring organization in the BSA. And the BSA certainly doesn’t want to alienate them because it would be a major hit to the membership if they folded their tents and went elsewhere.

Sparky on January 30, 2013 at 3:13 PM

Oh, Lord, I just found out that Jim Nabors is gay and married his log term partner of 38 years back in January. I am sure that he molested all the kids on the Andy Griffith Show. I want an immediate investigation.

SC.Charlie on January 30, 2013 at 10:40 PM

I suspect the BSA is studying this very closely and putting the onus on the charter organization is a nod to the more social conservative churches to say to them if you don’t want gays in your troop that is fine with us. I’m sure they have been talking a lot with the LDS leadership as they are the largest sponsoring organization in the BSA. And the BSA certainly doesn’t want to alienate them because it would be a major hit to the membership if they folded their tents and went elsewhere.

Sparky on January 30, 2013 at 3:13 PM

As has been mentioned earlier in this thread, the “sponsoring organization can decide” or “the troop can decide” is not a viable policy. Troops are never totally self-contained – they regularly interact with District and Council staffs, as well as camp staffs and other troops.

If the national board of the BSA were to mandate the inclusion of open homosexuals, the LDS-sponsored troops would bolt in a heartbeat. Troops sponsored by evangelical churches would not be far behind. Even in the troops that did not bolt, they would lose most of their leadership and kids.

The left has been attacking the BSA for years. This has, ironically, forced the BSA to become a more socially conservative organization (much as the Establishment Media attacks forced the Tea Party into the Republican Party, and made it more conservative). Since the controversey over gays in scouts began, churches (especially the socially conservative ones) have been making up a larger and larger share of the sponsoring organizations. Some top-down directives from a far-away national board will not change the reality on the ground.

The big-money CEOs who are pushing this policy change think that a top-down directive such as this will be greeted by instant obedience at the troop level. Obviously, they are totally clueless about how volunteer-run organizations operate. If they push through this change, they will find themselves as members of a board whose organization has left them.

SubmarineDoc on January 30, 2013 at 11:09 PM

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