Tuesday, January 29th, 2013
The Boy Scouts of America, which has been fielding criticism in the wake of revelations of sexual abuse by its leaders, has announced it is reconsidering its policy of barring openly gay boys and men from participating in the organization. More from CNN:
The organization, which has 2.7 million members, is “potentially discussing” doing away with its national policy after months of protest, including hundreds of angry Eagle Scouts renouncing their hard-earned awards and mailing back their red-white-and-blue medals.
Many parents of Scouts across America found the national policy excluding gays confusing — and at odds with basic scouting ideals.
Social media were abuzz with outrage over the policy; gay men who used to be Scouts spoke out in first-person blogs. On her TV talk show, Ellen DeGeneres featured a California Scout who had been denied his Eagle rank because he is gay.
Members of the organization’s national board are expected to bring up the issue at a regularly scheduled biannual meeting in February. Any change would be announced after that.
In the Scouts’ statement Monday, the group indicated that the national board may consider passing any decisions on gay membership to the local level. Each troop’s charter organization would be able to decide “consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.”
“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue,” the statement said.
The statement itself is remarkable. Some members will see the fact that Scouting’s national leadership is even discussing a policy change as a softening of its stance on gays and lesbians.
But some Scouts and Scout parents say that passing the decision to the local level will have little effect on the ground, because many troops have been ignoring the national policy anyway.
Image: Boy Scout, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, September 19th, 2012
Rupert Everett, who is best known for his role in the movie “My Best Friend’s Wedding,” is taking criticism for comments he made suggesting that gay fathers aren’t suited to the job. From HLN:
Everett, who came out more than two decades ago, went on to say, “She thinks children need a father and a mother and I agree with her.” He then went on to say, “I can’t think of anything worse than being brought up by two gay dads.”
“Some people might not agree with that. Fine! That’s just my opinion,” said Everett, who also said he doesn’t consider himself part of the gay community.
GLAAD President Herndon Graddick said in a statement, “Since Everett shared his outdated opinion, gay parents, as well as their friends and families, have voiced overwhelming disappointment. Children aren’t hurt when raised by caring gay parents, but they are when uninformed people in the public eye insult their families.”
Image: Rupert Everett, via s_bukley / Shutterstock.com
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Thursday, July 19th, 2012
The Boy Scouts of America has, after two years of reviewing its policy on homosexuality, announced that it will continue to exclude gays from their organization. The Associated Press reports:
The Scouts cited support from parents as a key reason for keeping the policy and expressed hope that the prolonged debate over it might now subside. Bitter reactions from gay-rights activists suggested that result was unlikely.
The Scouts’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press that an 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, came to the conclusion that the exclusion policy ‘‘is absolutely the best policy’’ for the 102-year-old organization.
Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.
As a result of the committee’s decision, the Scouts’ national executive board will take no further action on a resolution submitted at its recent national conference asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.
The Scouts’ chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, contended that most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both adult leaders and Scouts.
Image: Boy Scouts, via spirit of america / Shutterstock.com.
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Thursday, June 7th, 2012
A resolution is under consideration by the Boy Scouts of America that would change the 102-year-old policy banning gay men and boys from leading or participating in scouting. From MSNBC.com:
The new policy would throw out the national ban and allow local chartering organizations to decide whether or not they would accept gay youth and leaders, said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout who has advocated for the change, citing unidentified people he spoke to within the organization.
Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith said a resolution to amend the national policy to allow each of the Scouting’s chartered groups to set its own standards regarding gay members was turned in by a Scout leader from the northeast before April 30, the deadline for submitting resolutions. He said the resolution was read on May 31 at their national annual meeting.
“While we’ll carefully consider this resolution, there are no plans to change this policy,” he said noting that resolutions and petitions on the matter were “not unique” and dated back to 2000, when the Supreme Court heard a challenge over their stance (the justices sided with the Boy Scouts in the lawsuit involving a former Assistant Scoutmaster who was gay, citing the protections of the First Amendment).
Image: Boy Scouts of America, via Shutterstock.
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Thursday, May 17th, 2012
Nine-year-old Josef Miles has inspired his family–and caught the media’s attention–by taking on a group of controversial protesters from Westboro Baptist Church in Topeka, Kansas, who demonstrate at military funerals displaying signs that use an expletive for homosexuals with the words “God Hates ___.” NPR.org reports:
“Josef was determined to make his own statement so we went to the car and with pencil and his sketch pad, he made up his own little sign that reads ‘GOD HATES NO ONE,’ ” his mom wrote. “Those people are scary but he stood strong, was respectful and stood by his convictions. He will be a good man, I have no doubt. I got my Mothers Day present early.”
Image via NPR.org
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