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…




  1. Mike says

    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.

  2. William says

    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.

  3. Leo says

    Well this should surprise absolutely no one.

    Ha…to 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.

  4. Francis says

    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.

  5. says

    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.

  6. Johnson says

    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.

  7. Douglas says

    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.

  8. Caliban says

    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.

  9. Disgusted American says

    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..

  10. Yeek says

    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.

  11. SFshawn says

    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.

  12. says

    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.

  13. says

    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.”

  14. patrick says

    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.

  15. Joey says

    Why don’t we form our own “scout” group? (OMG, I can just see the uniforms now…and the badges you can earn!)
    Aside from this snide piece of sarcasm, screw the scouts. They never did anything for me!

  16. Rob says

    After being informed that the Catholic and Mormon churches are the largest contributors to the BSA, I am sure they were told by the former that they would lose their funding. Hell the Catholics throw orphans and homeless people under the bus if a state tries to pass civil unions! Why not the Boy Scouts.

  17. Randy says

    BSA is not the only scouting organization. They’re just the loudest and nuttiest.

    I have heard of Navigators USA and Camp Fire USA, which might be alternatives to the BSA.

  18. Kaylene says

    So, does this mean that the federal government will be revoking all public funding used to keep this bigotry going? After all, the BSA discriminates based on creed, at the very least, by denying atheists membership, and that is in direct violation of the DoD’s own policies on allowing Federal resources (such as facilities) to be used by non-federal entities (such as BSA).

  19. Mary says

    Bad news, obviously. But it could be a last hurray for the anti-gay forces within the BSA. Maybe local chapters will, in time, simply disregard this policy and admit leaders who are gay/lesbian, hoping that whatever the policy is we’ve reached the point where no one wants to look like a homophobe by making a fuss about it. Trying to look on the bright side here.

  20. anon says

    Pure accounting decision: they would collect more donations maintaining the policy than they would changing it. Until donations drop off they won’t change the policy. It’s more likely that the policy will be ignored on a local level than officially changed.

  21. ezam says

    We should pressure our allies in government to revoke all federal benefits and tax exemptions from that hateful organization until it changes its policy.

  22. cfox says

    Stop giving money to United Way–a large portion of boy scout funding comes from United Way. Give your charitable contribution to the specific charity of your choice–Not United Way. Someone should sue to cancel their congressional charter also.

  23. Pointed says

    So the BSA has made their plea. With 7 million members, the BSA loves all but about 350,000 (5%) boyscouts and leaders whom are still in the closet. These 350,000 are self-loathing hyprocrits if they remain in the ranks of these bigots who consider us to be less than animals and certainly not capable of being a member of a human family.

  24. Icebloo says

    For all you naive people who think the Supreme Court will rule in favor of gay marriage……

    The Supreme Court ruled it was OK for the Scouts to enforce it’s anti-gay rules because gay people’s “conduct, they said, violated the group’s values”. That tells you EXACTLY what the right wing Supreme Court thinks of gay people.

    This is why we need to scrap the corrupt, biased Supreme Court and redesign the US political and judicial systems – they are beyond broken.

  25. andrew says

    @ Icebloo: the nine Justices on the Supreme Court are appointed by a democratically elected POTUS and take their seat when the majority of democratically elected Senators vote their approval. Because democracy doesn’t always do what you or I may want doesn’t mean it’s broken, it may just mean that you and I are out of step with the current majority.

  26. Julie says

    Not disappointed. After reading most of these comments I’m glad most of these people are not part of the organization. So much negativity. The modern world doesn’t mean you HAVE to cave into everyone else s beliefs just because it’s what EVERYONE else believes. Give me a break. An organization should stand for what it stands for and that’s the Boy Scouts. Accept it and move on.

  27. ELI says

    Thank you for proving the Boy Scouts stand for bigotry and hatred. It’s people like you that show the true Christianity of teaching young boys to hate and judge people they have never met.

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