Boy Scouts of America Tell Gays to Take a Hike

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The Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their policy to exclude the gay community from joining its program on Tuesday. For two years, a committee made up of Scout executives and adult volunteers, discussed and reviewed the policy and came to a unanimous decision. Today, the Scout Leaders believe that this is the right decision to make on behalf of the Boy Scouts best interest. “While not all board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization,”  the national executive board’s committee states. The controversy over this policy began in 2000, when the US Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts’ decision to ban all gay men and women from participating in the organization. Despite efforts from dozens of campaigners and critics who have protested against the ruling, the Boy Scouts continues its policy of discrimination.

Not only has this effected the children of the organization, but their parents too. Ex-Cub Scout Leader Jennifer Tyrell was barred from The Boy Scouts because of her sexual orientation in April of this year. She and 300,000 others have now joined change.org and created a petition to repeal the Scouts decision, asking the organization to give back her position as scout leader and end this ban for good. [timesunion.com]

Backlash against the committee’s decision to reaffirm its policy erupted today after the story hit the media. Zach Wahls, an Iowa-based Eagle Scout with two lesbian moms, released a statement about the decision . Read about it after the jump…

“This announcement is old news. We’ve heard this line before, and I’m sure they’ll keep saying this until the day they decide to change the policy. This announcement, moreover this ‘process,’ is just a distraction. We know where this is headed,” said Wahls, who recently launched Scouts for Equality to overturn the ban. “Above all, what is most disappointing about today’s announcement is the secretive nature surrounding how this conclusion was reached. The very first value of the Scout Law is that a Scout is trustworthy. There is absolutely nothing trustworthy about unelected and unnamed committee members who are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.”

Glaad’s President Herndon Graddick also released a formal statement of disapproval reading:

“With organizations including the Girl Scouts of the USA, the Boys & Girls Club and the U.S. military allowing gay Americans to participate, the Boy Scouts of America need to find a way to treat all children and their parents fairly,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “Until this ban is lifted, the Scouts are putting parents in a situation where they have to explain to their children why some scouts and hard-working scout leaders are being turned away simply because of who they are. It’s unfair policies like this that contribute to a climate of bullying in our schools and communities. Since when is that a value worth teaching young adults?”

Ex-Cub Scout Den Leader, Jennifer Tyrell, also issued a statement:

“All I’m asking for is the opportunity to meet with a Boy Scouts official and resume my post as den leader of my son’s Cub Scout Pack — a post that was taken from me as a result of a discriminatory policy that’s unpopular with Boy Scouts and leaders across the country,” said Tyrrell. “I hope they’ll listen to my story and the stories of hundreds of thousands who have signed my Change.org petitions.”

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