Boy Scout Board to Vote on Elimination of Gay Ban

The national board of the Boy Scouts of America gathered yesterday for a three-day meeting in Dallas and it has been confirmed that consideration of the ban on gay scouts is on the board's agenda. No confirmation on when it will actually take place.

ScoutsThe NYT reports that there is tension in the air at the location:

At the site of the meeting, a hotel near Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport, reporters were directed to a parking lot that had been cordoned off specifically for them, then barred entry into the hotel.

People on both sides of the issue said that the question of how religious groups regard the proposed policy change is crucial because of the large role that faith-based organizations play in scouting. The Scouts organization says that more than 69.4 percent of all Scout units are chartered to faith-based organizations, and more than 39 percent of scouts are involved in scouting groups affiliated with the largest three religious backers — the Mormon Church, the United Methodist Church and the Roman Catholic Church.

And while some churches have said in the past they might withdraw from participation if the gay ban was lifted, others are wading into the debate on the other side. The National Jewish Committee on Scouting, for example, one of the nation’s oldest faith-based scouting sponsors, dating back to the 1920s, with upward of 40,000 volunteers, polled its leaders on Sunday in a teleconference and arrived here with a resolution to push for abandoning the gay ban.

Yesterday, gay former scouts and allies dropped off 1.4 million petitions urging the group to drop the ban.


  1. says

    Face it guys, the only reason that the BSA is even thinking about this is not because they want to, or public pressure/outcry….it is because sponsors (big money) are dropping them in flocks. Personally, they should keep the ban, and slowly become obsolete as more and more alienate themselves from the organization, I’m sorry, corporation (which they are). As the old adage goes, a leopard can not change their spots and maintaining the same heirarchy won’t change attitudes toward gays. A new scouting organization needs to be built from the ground up, all inclusive. Let the bigots bring the BSA to its demise.

  2. Strepsi says

    @ CB: I think that this leopard will change its spots — as we just saw in another ‘unreformable’ institution, the NFL — because of a new generation.

    More than corporate support, you cannot have scouting without scouts. And just as a whole new crop of young players hit football, the kids coming into scouting now ARE tolerant: they are gay, or have out gay family, or out gay friends, and they just can not fathom why anyone would want to treat these people as lesser.

    I applaud these scouts, and anyone who signed!

  3. says

    A Scouting Family
    Email sent to the National Board of the BSA:

    I was a registered scout from the age of 8 through 18 as were both my younger and older brothers. All three of us spent summers first attending and then working for our local scout camp J.N. Webster. I achieved my Life badge and was inducted into the Order of the Arrow completing vigil and numerous service projects.

    Mom, started as a cub scout leader and in the 70’s became one of the first women in America to complete advanced leadership training.
    “Stand Up Rose” Goodnow became a district leader and was awarded the silver beaver on two occasions. Upon her passing, she was buried in her scouting uniform at her request.

    Wally Goodnow, my dad served as scout master and on district committees, also earning a sliver beaver.

    My bothers, Wallace and Paul-Steven Goodnow, both Eagle scouts, died tragically while still in their teens; Wallace, murdered in Jacksonville, FL before he was 20 and Paul-Steven in a single car accident driving late night to his job at J.N. Webster as dining hall steward. A plaque was erected memorializing them at the entrance to a campsite at the scout reservation.

    I helped to home care Rose through her final illness and took my father Wallace into my home to see him through his, eventually holding his hand as he passed. They remained involved in scouting to the end.

    Every five years I take a stand for my family and represent my brother Wallace and his memory at the parole board hearing for the unapologetic man who took his life.

    I volunteer as a youth mentor and contribute my services to community and charitable projects often in the name of these family members who have passed.

    I am a gay man. The lessons that I learned in scouting and the examples of service and fellowship have helped to make me a good man as well.

    Two summers ago, I attended a reunion at J.N. Webster for past staff and campers.
    I was greeted by one leader graciously and with much good cheer. Most others made it clear that though they would happily take my financial contribution, they would also prefer that I leave as quickly as possible.
    – I was not welcome to assist with service and badly needed maintenance projects.
    – My offer to provide assistance with fundraising and marketing (areas in which I have considerable expertise)was firmly rebuffed.
    – I have now, apparently, been removed from contact lists for future social gatherings
    – Though I asked, none would tell me where the plaque honoring my brothers was so I could pay my respects

    I continue to contribute to my community and actively participate in many worthwhile organizations.
    …but my heart is heavy when I think of what scouting was and what it has become.

    On behalf of my scouting family and in their memory, please change this policy.

    Allow your brothers to come home.

    Patrick Goodnow
    Norwich, CT

  4. Bob says

    As Patrick’s letter so sadly illustrates, the BSA has moved away from acceptance, largely due to pressure from the EVIL MORMONS and the EVIL RIGHT WING CATHOLICS AND THEIR POPE.
    It would be a shame to give up the fight — scouting might be the one place that Gay kids can participate and grow up with their peers, if they do not happen to be jocks.

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