Boy Scouts of America Considers Repealing Gay Ban
At the GLAAD awards this March, Madonna dressed as a boy scout and slammed the organization for its homophobic policies stating, “they should change their stupid rules.” This statement is one of many made by celebrities, who call for rejection of the bigoted policy.
In February, Ellen DeGeneres used her famous humor to draw attention to the discriminatory gay ban in the Boy Scouts of America. After claiming they would be the first organization to treat gays equally after “the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, all of the United Kingdom and Cher,” she jokes, “They won’t let their members be gay, or openly gay anyway, but they’re letting them wear neckerchiefs and green short shorts?” Later in her monologue, she recalls meeting Ryan Anderson, a young man who had dedicated twelve years of his life to scouting only to be denied the highest title of Eagle Scout because of his sexual orientation.
On its website (scouting.org), the organization claims, “The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” This statement begs the question of whether is it ethical to discriminate against a group of individuals.
Many Eagle Scouts do not think discrimination is ethical and many have actively protested this homophobic policy by returning their merit badges. “Eagle Scouts Returning Our Badges” at http://eaglebadges.tumblr.com/ has posted over 225 of their letters. The most recent missive, dated March 13, opens, “It is with a heavy heart that I return the Eagle Scout pin and badge I was awarded in August of 1980…I do this in protest of the Boy Scouts of America’s policy to deny leadership positions to gay and lesbian adults and membership to young adults who identify as gay.”
In response to increasing condemnation, the organization has issued surveys to 1.4 million Scout parents, volunteers, and alumni to gauge the climate within the organization. Some open-ended questions were included such as “Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?” Ostensibly, the organization will use the survey results to help them determine their stance for the policy vote this May.
The therapists at Chicago based IntraSpectrum Counseling hope the Boy Scouts of America opt for inclusion; in so doing, the organization will help to instill the values of acceptance and diversity to youngsters across the nation.