Task Force Hopes Boy Scouts Will Reconsider Stance on Gay Scouts
Monday, February 4, 2013 • 3:45pm
Equality and acceptance for all boys are what one locally based organization is calling for from the Boy Scouts of America. The Equal Scouting Task Force is hoping that the Boy Scouts recent decision to revisit their policies regarding sexual orientation will allow all scouts to participate on national and local levels, no matter what their sexual orientation.
“We want gays to be allowed to be allowed in scouting everywhere and anywhere,” said Andrew Lama, the organization’s Public Relations representative. “Your privileges as a scout should not rely on whether you live in a liberal or conservative council,” he said. “You should be allowed to be a scout everywhere, not just somewhere.”
According to Lama, the current policy can boot members from the organization based on a number of reasons. Some of them include atheism, agnosticism and homosexuality.
“You don’t want to kick a 13-year-old out because they’re gay,” Lama said. “That’s cruel.”
The Boy Scouts of America released a statement explaining that their re-evaluation of the more than 100-year-old policy would allow organizations to decide where they stand on the issue and who is allowed to participate. The original policy was put in place in order to serve the best interests for the organization and the young people who participate in it, according to the Boy Scouts.
“BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit which best meets the needs of their families,” the Boy Scouts said in their statement. “The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs.”
The Boy Scout’s statement has created a stir amongst many, including Dan Deweever, an Assistant Scout Master. Deweever has been active in the Scouts as an adult for 11 years. He has been following the story since the Scouts’ original announcement that all LGBT youth would be barred from participating in the organization.
“I was very disheartened that they took that position in the first place,” he said. “If the Marine Corps can get comfortable with it, why can’t the Boy Scouts?”
Deweever believes that a change in the Boy Scouts’ policy will better adhere with the Scouts’ oath and law. According to Deweever, the mission is to prepare participants to be leaders in their communities and part of the community currently cannot participate.
“You can’t be a good leader if you aren’t familiar with the community,” he said. “It better prepares these kids to be a team leader of society.”
According to Deweever, the Boy Scouts is not an organization that moves quickly. He believes the current environment and financial matters are forcing their hand. If the Boy Scouts became more accepting of LGBT youth, they would qualify for more philanthropic donations since many of the donors encourage equality, he
The Equal Scouting Task Force hopes their petition to the White House will be a big enough push for President Obama to speak up for LGBT youth in the Boy Scouts organization at their National Jamboree in July. The petition requires 100,000 signatures before Feb. 18 to be viewed by the president.
For more information about the Task Force or their petition, please visit www.equalscoutingtaskforce.org.