What some are calling a compromise move, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is proposing a change to its policy banning openly homosexual scouts and troop leaders by keeping the policy in place only for adult leaders and volunteers.
The Washington Times is reporting that after months of controversy over the policy, they surveyed more than one million adult BSA members, including leaders, parents and alumni, and found 61 percent were in support of the current policy with only 34 percent demanding a change. Most of those who opposed the ban were teens age 16 to 18 and young parents.
Therefore, they believe the proposed resolution, which will allow any boy to become a member regardless of their sexual orientation, while banning any openly gay adult volunteer or leader, will have the broadest appeal to those surveyed. The measure will have to be voted upon at the BSA national meeting in Texas next month.
If the proposal is voting down, the BSA said it has no plans for further review of the matter. However, if it is approved, the new policy would take effect on January 1, 2014.
Specifically, the new policy states that “no youth may be denied membership… on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone” but still expects all members to adhere to the rules which state that young Scouts should not be engaging in sexual activity, either heterosexual or homosexual.
Under the new policy, openly homosexual adult volunteers and leaders would not be permitted to serve in the BSA. This means lesbians would be prohibited from serving as den mothers and gay men would not be allowed to serve as Scoutmasters.
Rick Jacobs, founder of CourageCampaign.org, a homosexual advocacy group, called the proposal “another step in the right direction” but said “the Boy Scouts need to go further and end all discrimination within their organization.”
John Stemberger, Eagle Scout and founder of OnMyHonor.net, a coalition that supports the current policy in its entirety, told the Times that the new resolution should not be approved.
“This cleverly-worded resolution tries to dodge criticism from gay activists, but still creates a myriad of problems for how to manage and ensure the safety of the boys in the program,” said Mr. Stemberger.
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins agrees. “This resolution would introduce open homosexuality into the ranks and eventually the leadership of Scouting,” he said in a written statement. “This is totally unacceptable to the vast majority of Scouting parents who want to keep their exclusive right to discuss issues of sexuality with their sons.”
Opening the door to homosexuality will only empower other special interest groups to push for more changes, further clouding the Scouts’ mission.
“An atheist leader has already declared that if the policy on homosexuality changes, then there is no reason why atheists should not also have their way and remove God from the Scout oath and the term ‘reverence’ from the Scout law,” Perkins says.
He vowed to lead the fight against the new resolution. “We will continue to work with thousands of Scouting parents and boys from across the country who want to preserve the Scouts’ timeless values that have served the Scouts and the nation well for 103 years.”
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