The Boy Scouts of America on Monday removed Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, 49, who is believed to be the first openly gay adult to be barred since last year’s ballot in which the Scouts voted to accept but not gay adult leaders.
McGrath, an Eagle Scout who is married to his partner of 20 years, had filed an application for a new troop last year through Rainier Beach Methodist Church. He said Troop 98, in Seattle’s Rainier Beach neighborhood, was approved. “”The impact of discrimination has missed them somehow”
Chief Seattle Council leader Sharon Moulds told NBC News the Scouts did not ask about his sexual orientation and discovered he was gay only after NBC News contacted them.
Moulds wrote in an email to NBC News:
“It was then that we became aware of his intentions to make a public statement about his orientation and use our program as a means to further a personal agenda.”
McGrath said it was not a “personal agenda” but simply an attempt to re-open the organization’s LGBT policy.
Spokesperson Deron Smith of the Boy Scouts of America has said that the BSA has no plans to revisit its policy on the banning of gay adults.
Today, after months of deliberations and criticism from both sides of the debate, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has come up with a compromise when it comes to allowing LGBT members into their leadership organization. The deal essentially states that gay scout members are allowed into their organization. But there’s a catch to this deal. The ban on LGBT volunteers and leaders are still very much active, with no signs of being lifted. Some call this a partial victory for the LGBT movement, while I believe that it is anything but a win for us.
This is one of the few times that I’m going to be very candid about my opinion by saying that I am completely disgusted at what this decision today implies. Instead of showing these scouts the importance of leadership and teamwork, they’re being shown how to continually condemn different people with different beliefs as this deal is demonizing to the LGBT community. Seriously what does it say when they are saying that no LGBT volunteers or employees are allowed. What’s their reasoning behind that? Do they think that we prey on young victims and brainwash them into being compact carrying queens? Because if they don’t want us to be mentors to scouts then that means that they believe by nature that we are a manipulative group of people set out to recruit unsuspecting victims. They are essentially implying that we are pedophiles and I am livid at the snide, covert accusation that this decision implies.
This also means that LGBT parents like Jennifer Tyrell can’t even participate with her son in any of the “community” and “family” activities because they don’t believe we are capable or deserving to have the same “rights” as them. How can we trust that they won’t tell him that who his mother is, an out and proud lesbian, that she is wrong for being gay? If they are so indulgent on the notion of honesty, I wish they’d have the courage to say it instead of this vapid attempt to pacify us and the leaders of this community. How do we know that this isn’t some move to ensure whatever manipulative, reparative therapy-like measures will be woven into earning merit badges and by not allowing LGBT volunteers or leaders means they can implement whatever brainwashing techniques to “fix” our children’s beliefs? It’s all hypothetical questions but if they’re still openly excluding us, how can we be assured that ulterior motives are not at play?
Would our children even be allowed to be openly gay in the BSA? Would they condemn the gay scout for any “improper” behavior that they see as “not up to code” when that really means is that anything that they see as feminine or gay. I shake my head at how they would deal with transgendered scout members, a group that has not been mentioned at all by the LGBT activists that are calling this deal a victory. Will they be able to treat a female to male transgendered scout with support and be welcoming or tell them that they’re wrong? Will they allow male to female transgendered scouts to remain in the organization or will they let these scouts be mocked and bullied by other scouts? If they have some implied belief that we’ll grow out of being gay, then they probably will do the same to this group.
And what of the gay scout members in this organization. To me, this implies that the BSA believes that we’ll somehow grow out of being gay. That being gay is just a phase that their Christian Bible Thumping values will somehow lead us out of our “sinful” thinking”. What will they tell to the scout members that come out? Will it be someone nurturing and kind that will sit with the child and help them process this information or will they tell them how they still believe homosexuality is wrong? There are too many questions that no one seems to be asking the Boy Scouts of America.
What happens to the gay scouts who have been with the organization for years as a child and they turn 18? Are they stripped of any titles they spent years on thrown out? Can they no longer progress forward and become an Eagle Scout? What is the point if they can’t even progress any further in the organization? That’s the only conclusion we can come to if they have a cutoff as adults.
All this deal has done at best is present us with more questions than a sign of compromise and change. This may all seem like an outlandish assumption of how they will deal with gay scout members but honestly how do we know we can trust them. So no, this is not a time of celebration for LGBT activists and equal rights advocates. I do not in any way shape or form believe this is a step in the right direction or a show of real progress. This deal is just a more covert, disguised form of prejudice and homophobia. Quite the opposite actually. This is a slap in the face. This is not some change of heart or evolution into seeing that we are people and deserve equal rights. The Boy Scouts of America are STILL condemning who and what we are and to believe anything to the contrary is flat out wrong.
This deal is so reminiscent of the Jim Crow laws, Grandfather Clauses and the 3/5 Compromise of our nation’s history where my African American ancestors were not seen as human. They were denied their rights as citizens and were seen as animals that did not deserve the same treatment that everyone else received because we didn’t fit into the nice, neat little package of“normal good folk“. This deal is saying the same thing, that we are not good enough and cannot be trusted around their children while they can placate any lie and fallacy in ideology onto our children. This deal openly mocks us.
We should be frustrated and upset, because if they don’t trust us, how can we trust them with our children? How can we trust that they will treat instances of bullying fairly when they don’t even believe we have a right to be who we are. Those are the questions we should be asking them right now. It’s about how can we trust them, not the other way around. As a community, we have nothing to prove to these bigots. There’s no way in hell I would ever allow a child of mine in such a demented, callous mindset as the BSA. I do not trust them. And neither should you.
Over the past year, the “teaching leadership” group Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have been the center for heated debate among advocates and supporters of LGBT rights since the organization has always refused to accept gay members. Several months ago many believed that there had been some progress with BSA said they would consider lifting the ban on gays only to later back out citing they needed more time to weigh their options (more like soothe the wounded egos of their financial backers). Now the BSA comes back with another proposal, only this time it would allow scout members that identify as gay but no LGBT leaders and volunteers would be allowed. Here’s more:
NEW YORK — Searching for compromise on a divisive issue, the Boy Scouts of America is proposing to partially lift its long-standing exclusion of gays – allowing them as youth members but continuing to bar them as adult leaders.
The proposal, unveiled Friday after weeks of private leadership deliberations, will be submitted to the roughly 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s National Council during the week of May 20 at a meeting in Texas.
The key part of the resolution says no youth may be denied membership in the Scouts “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.” A ban would continue on leadership roles for adults who are openly gay or lesbian.
Gay-rights groups, which had demanded a complete lifting of the ban, criticized the proposal as inadequate.
“Until every parent and young person have the same opportunity to serve, the Boy Scouts will continue to see a decline in both membership and donations,” said Rich Ferraro, a spokesman for the gay-rights watchdog group GLAAD.
Here’s the thing, by specifically saying that LGBT members cannot participate in volunteering and leadership positions suggest that likely they’ll only “tolerate” gay members. What would they do if a gay scout member is teased, harassed or bullied? Would they blame the perpetrators or the victim? How are we to know that the administrators of this organization wouldn’t also try to implement some “education” about how gay scout members are “wrong” and just need the proper education? That if guided correctly we’ll grow out of it? Because why not believe that they would try to instate some kind of reparative scouting along the way. See, too many questions with no clear answers arise with this proposal.
Of course this is all speculation on my part, but there is something that just doesn’t sit right with me in this deal in which they are adamant about excluding LGBT volunteers. So this deal stinks. Do better BSA and allow gays in all areas.
Innovative and Iconic have always been adjectives to accurately describe music legend and actress Madonna. And just as much as she’s known for her ability to change her musicality she has always been an important and vital ally for the LGBT community. Tonight was no different when she appeared those in attendance to the annual GLAAD Media Awards when Madonna showed up in an altered but still recognizable Boy Scouts uniform, no doubt making the statement to the organization that still bans openly gay members as well as volunteers. We’jj have her speech up as soon as it’s readily available!
Extraordinaire in all things software engineering Bill Gates has a clear, concise statement for the Boy Scouts of America and their ban on LGBT members/volunteers. Gates has always been an outspoken advocate for LGBT rights and felt the succinct message for the religious was to get with the times. Here’s more:
Speaking at Politico’s inaugural Playbook Cocktails interview series in Washington, D.C., Gates said he had enjoyed being a Scout. On stage with Politico D.C. bureau chief Mike Allen, Gates recalled learning “how to tie knots, how to weave baskets, how to hike long distances without complaining too much.”
On a recent taping of her hit daytime tv show, Ellen DeGeneres talked about the Boy Scouts of America and the controversy that continues to surrounds them. Over the past few weeks the Boy Scouts have contemplated allowing gay members but felt they needed to delay a decision until May. As it was likely a push to get the now infamous group to finally accept gay members what turned out as light banter ended on a rather serious note:
“If the Boy Scouts start treating gays equally, they’re going to become the first group to do it — after the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, the Marines, the Coast Guard, all of the United Kingdom and Cher. They won’t let their members be gay, or openly gay, anyway, but they’re letting them wear neckerchiefs and green short shorts!”
“The more that we teach people how to accept people for who they are, the more self-confident they’ll be and the better leaders they’ll become,”
And she’s right. We have to talk about how this archaic thinking is a complete contradiction that is this organizations motto. Otherwise it shows that treating people that are different is okay. History has shown what lack of judgment this so called “code of ethics” brings to society. It’s oppressive, not freedom.
With all the recent controversy surrounding the Boy Scouts of America and their anti-gay policies we saw the potential for a change in that. Due to unspecified reasons (ie they were getting a hell of a lot of flack from their “Christian” supporters) the organization is now waiting until sometime in the spring before making a decision. Here’s more from HuffPo;
IRVING, Texas — Caught in an ideological crossfire, the Boy Scouts of America is delaying until May a vote on whether to ease its
policy of excluding gays as Scouts and adult leaders. Any eventual decision is likely to anger major constituencies and worsen schisms within Scouting.
The delay, which the Scouts attributed to “the complexity of this issue,” was announced Wednesday after closed-door deliberations by the BSA’s national executive board. Under consideration was a proposal to ease the longstanding ban on gays by allowing sponsors of local troops to decide for themselves on gay membership.
As the board met over three days at a hotel near Dallas, it became clear that the proposal would be unacceptable to large numbers of impassioned Scouting families and advocacy groups on both the left and right.
It appears the decision to delay is making both sides of the argument upset. Tony Perkins said a lot of the same tired bigoted rhetoric as always. Jennifer Tyrell, the mother who volunteered for the scouts and was kicked out because she’s a lesbian had this to say:
“A Scout is supposed to be brave, and the Boy Scouts failed to be brave today. They failed us yet again. Putting this off until May only ensures other gay kids and gay parents are discarded.”
If they meant to ease tensions a bit by delaying this debate it’s actually doing the opposite.
The Girl Scouts of America are as mad as hell (well as mad as hell as a Girl Scout can get) and is not taking the ousting of a Louisville, Ky., Boy Scout leader who said he was forced to resign because he is gay.
Greg Bourke, who had volunteered with the BSA for five years, was forced to step down and resign after the pastor at the church where his troop meets said the facility might lose its Scouting charter if he stayed on after revealing he was gay and had raised two children with his partner of thirty years.
Well the GSA of Kentucky was shocked and saddened when they heard the news and had to stand up and say something.
In a letter openly condemning the BSA for their discrimination against Bourke, GSA co-leader Kim Haydon reached out to the executive of the Boy Scouts’ Lincoln Heritage Council and wrote in part
“[To] discount all that he has done for our youth only because he is gay is absurd. Shame on you and your small mindedness.”
Barry G. Oxley II of the Boy Scouts’ Lincoln Heritage Council, declined to comment other than to say it is “a national BSA policy.”
Bourke is fighting back with a Change.org petition that urges the Lincoln Heritage Council to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy. In an effort to plea his case, the father of two writes:
“For the past five years, I’ve dedicated my time and energy to the Boy Scouts of America and to my community — and I’ve loved every minute of it. In return, the Boy Scouts of America has decided to fire me for being honest about who I am and for loving my partner of 30 years. I launched my petition with the hope of turning this hurtful situation into something positive… If enough of us speak out, I know the Lincoln Heritage Council will join the growing list of councils that have decided to reject the Boy Scouts’ discriminatory policy.”
Change.org says the petition is just one of many that are taking issue with local Boy Scout councils and the National organization.
Brava to the Kentucky Girl Scouts of America for once again standing up against homophobia, bigotry, and hate and for doing whats decent and right.
“The President believes the Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century,” White House spokesperson Shin Inouye said in the statement. “He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation.”
In a follow-up email, Inouye said Obama won’t resign or relinquish his position as honorary president of the Boy Scouts as result of this position.
“The Boy Scouts of America respects the opinions of President Obama and appreciates his recognition that Scouting is a valuable organization,” Smith said. “We believe that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good.”
Said GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) President Herndon Graddick responded to the Obama statement:
“Our nation’s leaders from across religions and political persuasions have joined hundreds of thousands of Americans in speaking out against the blatant discrimination that the Boy Scouts of America teaches young adults today. It’s clear that this outdated policy will be changing in the future. How long will the Boy Scouts continue to bully young gay Americans into hiding who they are and hurt children of gay parents by denying their parents an opportunity to participate in their children’s lives?”
One really has to wonder why GLAAD’s President Graddick who heads an organization which promotes the image of LGBT people in the media can so readily issue a press release about discrimination in the Boy Scouts but was eerily silent during the whole Chick-fil-A media disaster while his organization ran the wrong message of same-sex marriage instead of the groups hate group donations.
It’s truly disappointing that the White House couldn’t say something more on point instead using the Obama “opposes discrimination in all forms” meme to cover this issue to try to make some points with the LGBT community,
And whats even more disappointing is that Obama will not show integrity even on this issue and prove his full support by relinquishing his position as honorary president of the Boy Scouts. Would Obama still not resign if the BSA refused admittance to boys and leaders who were Jewish or Black?
President Obama may be the best LGBT ally that we’ve ever had in the White House, and may not be able to wave a magic wand with DOMA and ENDA . But he could make a stronger, more pointed statement where the BSA is concerned and take a poweful syand against discrimination against the LGBT community and back up his words with actions.
Buried at the bottom of this AP story, about Eagle Scouts returning their medals, Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul, took the AP that Mitt Romney believes now, as he did 18 years ago, that gay people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts,
“In contrast to Obama, Republican candidate Mitt Romney does have a public position on the Scouts’ policy — he politely disagrees with it.
Back in 1994, during a political debate in Massachusetts, Romney said this: “I support the right of the Boy Scouts of America to decide what it wants to do on that issue. I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation.”
A Romney spokeswoman, Andrea Saul, said in an e-mail that this remains Romney’s position today.”
In 1994 when Romney made his original statement about his personal beliefs vs. the right of the Boy Scouts to self-determination, he was actually on the Boy Scouts’ National Executive Board. Which means his personal opinion should have been part of the Boy Scouts’ self-determination but wasn’t.
ROMNEY’S ORIGINAL 1994 DECLARATION THAT HE PERSONALLY BELIEVE THAT GAY PEOPLE SHOULD BE ALLOWED IN THE BOY SCOUTS