Boy Scouts | News

Boy Scouts Upholds Ban on Gays After Confidential Two-Year Review

The Boy Scouts of America has upheld its ban on gays after a "confidential two-year review" and says it will stand strong in the face of protest, the AP reports:

BsaAn 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, "came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts," the organization' national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.

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 recently submitted resolution asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.

Longer statement:

"Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting. 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 statement is referring to Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, both of whom recently said that they object to the BSA's anti-gay policies.

The statement from the Scouts follows news this morning that Eric Jones, an Eagle Scout, was fired from his job as a BSA campa counselor over the weekend after telling the camp director he's gay.

The Boy Scouts had recently announced it would review its policy on gays but promised no solutions after a petition campaign from GLAAD inspired by the ousting of Ohio den mother Jennifer Tyrrell, one that Eagle Scout Zach Wahls has also been heavily involved in. Given the information provided by the AP this morning, a "confidential" review was already underway.

According to a notice from, Tyrrell will deliver 300,000 petition signatures in support of her reinstatement to the Boy Scouts of America’s headquarters in Dallas, Texas on Wednesday. Video may take a few seconds to load...



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  1. Disappointing.

    They had an opportunity to join the modern world, and they blew it.

    Posted by: endo | Jul 17, 2012 11:04:08 AM

  2. Blacks were refused membership in the Scouts and most other groups and organizations in America. They still have separate black and white Christian churches in many parts of America. Keep fighting for equal and civil rights for all in America.

    Posted by: Mike | Jul 17, 2012 11:12:24 AM

  3. Sure "good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting."

    Unless those good people have been kicked out of the organization for disagreeing with the organization on that topic.

    Yet more reason why my time in Y-Indian Guides still resonates with me more than my time in Boy Scouts.

    Posted by: William | Jul 17, 2012 11:12:26 AM

  4. Well this should surprise absolutely no one. think my class salutatorian solely got his Eagle Scout merit for his college application to Princeton before coming out junior year. Hope it was worth it Justin.

    They may be a private institution but they clearly still hold relative cultural veneration so this decision does unfortunately hold some symbolic merit, IMO. Food for thought.

    Posted by: Leo | Jul 17, 2012 11:15:17 AM

  5. A scout is:

    Kind (unless you're one of THOSE)

    Posted by: MajorTom | Jul 17, 2012 11:17:14 AM

  6. The Boy Scouts are nothing but a Mormon front group these days

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 17, 2012 11:17:19 AM

  7. To quote a wise man once...

    F#ck them, especially the line about good people disagreeing.

    Posted by: Michael | Jul 17, 2012 11:18:30 AM

  8. Who needs them? How popular are they really?

    Posted by: Sean in Dallas | Jul 17, 2012 11:24:39 AM

  9. Too bad, but completely unsurprising. Oh well. I guess they'll simply have to deal with the continued loss of scouts and donations due to their homophobic principles.

    Posted by: Francis | Jul 17, 2012 11:26:38 AM

  10. Unfortunately, SEAN, they are very popular. I enquired here in Seattle for my son and was told that while we'd be welcome, I could not be included in a leadership position. The straight family I know in the troop is disappointed, but not to the point that they'll stop being involved. Uggh.

    Posted by: David R. | Jul 17, 2012 11:37:39 AM

  11. The Boy Scouts engage in false advertising starting with their name... The name of the group makes it sound like it is open to all boys. But an accurate name, that would avoid all this confusion would be:

    The Exclusionary Heterosexual Religionist Boy Scouts of America.

    Posted by: Johnson | Jul 17, 2012 11:38:19 AM

  12. The BSA is an antiquated and outdated organization run by biggots. I can't believe people are still members!

    Posted by: C.J. | Jul 17, 2012 11:52:12 AM

  13. The BSA is an antiquated and outdated organization run by biggots. I can't believe people are still members!

    Posted by: C.J. | Jul 17, 2012 11:52:13 AM

  14. actually, the boy scouts HQ is in Irving, Texas.

    Posted by: Sully | Jul 17, 2012 11:53:51 AM

  15. That ought to keep the pedophiles out.

    Posted by: Aspen | Jul 17, 2012 11:54:29 AM

  16. This should come as no surprise. The Mormons are the largest single organization sponsor of the BSA. All their teen aged boys are pretty much required to become a Boy Scout. Mormons hate gays.

    Posted by: Douglas | Jul 17, 2012 12:07:45 PM

  17. While disappointing, this comes as no surprise. When the BSA announced they were reviewing their policy I thought, "Yeah. Uh-huh. Right." Both the Mormon and Catholic churches are MAJOR funders of the BSA and they control the policy, so this policy review was just a PR move. In some parts of the country Scouts are given merit badges for volunteering for their local Mormon "stake."

    Most of the news stories about the BSA policy seem to be about adults involved in leadership positions, the Lesbian "Den Mother" and the fired camp counselor for instance, when in my opinion that's not the real story. That's important too but it's a side-issue.

    The real issue is that kids join the BSA as Cub Scouts in the 2nd or 3rd grade, long before they likely have any clue about their sexuality. They ARE scouts, members in good standing of the organization. But as they grow older some come to realize they are gay and they are *kicked out* of the organization. Either that or they leave scouting because they no longer feel welcome, as I did.

    The issue of gay scoutmasters is a distraction from that. The BSA uses that issue to raise the specter of molestation and gain widespread support of their anti-gay policies. If it were framed with the question, "Does the BSA have the right to kick Scouts out of the organization when they've done nothing wrong, merely because they're gay?" public opinion would change.

    Posted by: Caliban | Jul 17, 2012 12:19:33 PM

  18. the interesting part to tall this- I was never in the scouts...but the few guys I know who were...had thier 1st gay experiences in the scouts as 9yr olds..

    Posted by: Disgusted American | Jul 17, 2012 12:25:46 PM

  19. Aspen has it right. There are VERY few openly gay men who are involved in pedophilia cases (but there are a few). Most of the time, it's weird closeted guys who would never say "I'm gay" if asked who molest boys. Ironically, the BSA policy won't keep any of them out.

    But...they know it. The BSA specifically argued before the Supreme Court that they weren't barring gays to prevent sexual abuse, they were barring them due to a moral objection of their nature.

    The girl scouts do not allow male counselors, but they do not ban males from working for the organization in administrative positions, etc.

    Sad, but there's no higher court to appeal to. They won. We lost.

    Posted by: Yeek | Jul 17, 2012 12:34:47 PM

  20. Fun tid-bit, I had my first boyfriend while I was in boyscouts. He was the Scoutmaster's son

    Posted by: Wdeanis | Jul 17, 2012 1:00:34 PM

  21. No taxpayer money should ever go to pay for the Boy Scouts hatred of gays and blatent homophobia. They've lost multiple court cases over the years(San Diego is one example) in which they secretly and covertly "lease" prime real estate from the cities at $1 for 100 years and then claim they are a "PRIVATE" organization. Just like churches they need to be stripped of taxpayer money if they are going to play politics. We'll all get along as long as you PAY your way instead of taking my taxpayer dollar to promote you homo hating agenda. FU Boyscouts. Nice way to teach young boys RESPECT for others! Pathetic.

    Posted by: SFshawn | Jul 17, 2012 1:32:19 PM

  22. This makes me both sad and angry. As a kid Scouting was a big part of my life, it helped shape the person I am today. Scouting taught me to always to the right thing even if it wasn't popular, I wish those in charge would follow their own teachings.

    Posted by: Bryce Ageno | Jul 17, 2012 1:36:36 PM

  23. WHAT IF “the vast majority of the parents of youth we serve" objected to letting blacks be Scouts or Jews or fill-in-the-blank? What would the public, mainstream media, and the courts say then> Few remember that William Boyce Mueller, a former Cub Scout and the gay grandson of the founder of the Boy Scouts of America, was one of the cofounders in 1991 of “Forgotten Scouts”—along with gay authors and former Eagle Scouts Armistead Maupin and the late Randy Shilts, and Tim Curran, another Eagle Scout who unsuccessfully sued for being kicked out after a photo of him and his male high school prom date appeared in his local paper, et al.—one of the first groups formed to try to change the hate-poisoned policies of the modern oligarchs of his grandfather’s organization, saying, "I don't think he would have wanted me excluded from Scouting just because of my sexual orientation. My grandfather would not have tolerated discrimination. He founded the Boy Scouts for all boys, not just for some. One of the reasons I decided to stand up and be counted was that I realized that if people like me don't take a stand, the world isn't going to change."

    He's buried near Leonard Matlovich in DC's Congressional Cemetery. His headstone, shown at the link below, mentions "Forgotten Scouts."

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jul 17, 2012 1:46:23 PM

  24. LGBT Parents and those who support them must reconsider participation. Who will step up to create a more fairminded competing organization?

    Posted by: diatribesandovations | Jul 17, 2012 1:51:05 PM

  25. I demand that Turley and Young resign from their positions on this board. If they do not, it is a mockery of everything that their companies purport to stand for and to basic fairness and diversity that their companies claim to endorse.

    Posted by: patrick | Jul 17, 2012 1:58:41 PM

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