HRC: Boy Scouts Will Hire Convicted Criminals But Not Gays


The Human Rights Campaign obtained an employment application from the Boy Scouts of America which apparently states that the organization will hire convicted criminals but not "avowed homosexuals".

BsaThey write:

HRC obtained a copy of their job application, which says: "The Boy Scouts of America will not employ… known or avowed homosexuals." The icing on top? "Conviction of a crime is not an automatic bar to employment" according to the application. That's right – a person's sexual orientation is more of a red flag than their criminal record.

President Chad Griffin writes, in a letter urging the organization to demand a non-discrimination policy:

But with the news two weeks ago that the BSA Board of Directors wouldn't immediately end the organization's ban on gay Scouts and troop leaders, the true colors of the BSA are only growing clearer.

The Marines, the Army, the Navy, the Air Force, and the Coast Guard have all ended discrimination based on sexual orientation. Isn't it time the Boy Scouts follow suit?

Discrimination affects the entire Boy Scouts organization, and the harmful impact on young people is what disturbs me the most.

The BSA is an organization that prides itself on leadership. Yet its discriminatory policies seem to teach young participants that it's perfectly fine to exclude people based on sexual orientation. And the message these policies send to gay youth who already struggle to feel accepted is just heartbreaking.


  1. tribyen says

    waitwaitwait, they discriminate based on religion as well? Why are we still allowing them to educate kids at all?

  2. David Hearne says

    Tribyen – Do you mean “why does anyone let his kid join?” or do you mean “why do we allow this organization to exist?” ?

  3. graphicjack says

    Stop trying to “recruit” kids into your magic sky fairy worship and let them build campfires and explore botany in peace, bitches.

    Seriously, though, this just gets more nuts as we dig deeper… past criminal? Fine. “Avowed” homosexual? Got lost. I don’t have an issue with the statement about a criminal record not NECESSARILY being a barrier to join, because we have to give even convicted criminals a chance for a better life, and I assume that it would depend on the nature of his/her criminal activity whether they would accept the application. But enough with funding of bigoted organizations… seriously… enough.

  4. J.J says

    You guys do realize that for 99.99% of religious bigots, their homophobia has nothing (and I mean NOTHING) to do with their faith and everything to do with them just plain hating gay people and gay sex….you do know that right? The Bible gives them a great scapegoat to hide behind. But if Jesus came out from the sky and said “GAYS ARE GREAT” they’d still hate us and say, that wasn’t Jesus, it was an illusion.
    Their hatred and bigotry has no rationale. Don’t ever fool yourself into trying to make sense of it.

  5. Mark says

    Uhm hello….there was a study out that said some parents would actually be more willing to accept a convicted criminal as a child than a gay child. Why do you think so many of those homeless youth I pass in Los Angeles are LGBT?

  6. Jack says

    Ok – hold on just a second here. While I agree that this is all crazy, it is ILLEGAL to “carte blanche” hold prior criminal convictions against someone who applies for a job. The employer is required to prove why the particular criminal history would prevent an employee from doing the job at hand.

    Unfortunately, it is not illegal for a religious-based institution to discriminate against gays or people of different faiths.

    So again, while I’m in no way agreeing with how the Boy Scouts handle their hiring practices, their current system is in line with employment laws. If they were to ban anyone with a criminal past, they could easily be sued and lose.

    Maybe our focus should get away from worrying about criminal pasts and more on why it is still legal for them to not hire gays and atheists.

  7. Yeek says

    The worst part of this entire policy is the word “Avowed.” Allowing “unavowed” (closet-cases) into the Scouts sounds like a much bigger threat to me. After all, check out these sexual predators:
    – Jerry Sandusky
    – Mark Foley
    – The “Elmo” dude
    – Larry Craig
    – George Rekers
    – Ted Haggard
    – A bazillion priests

    They are ALL CLOSETED. It seems that gay men who are “out” pose much less of a threat to kids than men who’ve buried their sexuality under layers of repression (and who just happen to seek out authority over teenage boys). It’s a recipe for disaster.

  8. Mike B. says

    Wait, why is it okay for atheists and agnostics to be excluded? I didn’t realize this was a religious organization. Atheists and agnostics make up a much larger percentage of the population than gay people; shouldn’t I be hearing atheists and agnostics trying to pull the BSA into modern times?

  9. Eric says

    We aren’t going to win any hearts and minds by criticizing an organization for giving people convicted of a crime a chance at rebuilding their lives after they have paid their debt to society.

    The people we want to convince are going to have this reaction: Wait! They allow convicted criminals in there? That needs to stop!

    As Dr. Leo Buscalgia pointed out decades ago, labels are “distancing phenomena” and are almost always used to insert distance between people instead of bringing people together.

  10. Ryan says

    Yeek — almost none of those people identify as gay or even bisexual (I think Haggert is the only one who’s intimidated he has same-sex attractions, but not even he claims to be anything other than heterosexual, AFAIK… but on the other hand, while what he did was ‘wrong,’ it wasn’t molesting children… which makes him COMPLETELY different than Sandusky and the child molesting priests, etc.).

    Here’s the thing about the child molesters: the vast majority of them identify and are straight. Psychologists and psychiatrists have studied it in depth with these kinds of people and have stated that their ‘attraction’ to younger people is based on dominance, not attraction in the traditional sense. They may even be attracted to women and not to men… the pedophilia is a dangerous psychosis based on dominance.

    I suppose they get the same kick from it as most other rapists, which goes beyond feelings of male/female attraction. (A rapist doesn’t typically rape a woman merely because they were attracted to her, but because they wanted to physically and emotionally dominate and scar them, because they’re F’d up in the head.)

    So, with all due respect, I refuse to accept any of those people (who molested children, such as Sandusky) as even being ‘in the closet’ as gay.

    Sandusky was a married man and had kids and may have even been romantically attracted to his wife, for all we know. His pedophilia was something different, and far more dangerous and is an actual clinical type of mental disorder.

    The vast, vast, vast, vast, vast majority of all pedophiles in the world are straight men, including the vast, vast, vast, vast majority of those evil creepy priests and the Boy Scout leaders who preyed upon young boys.


    It’s important to correct these acts of misinformation, that are so pervasive and dangerous that even some people in our own LGBT community believe them. They’re simply not true. A gay person is no more likely to be a pedophile than a straight person — meaning there are about 10x more straight pedophiles than gay ones. That is establihed, scientific fact, and yet it’s lack of common knowledge has led all too many parents to trust their kids’ coaches and priests to have access to their children alone.

  11. Swiminbuff says

    When American Scouts and Scout Leaders attend international Scouting Jamborees do they build a wall around their camps so they do not come in contact with gay Scouts and Scout Leaders from other nations? Surely they must be afraid the “gay” will rub off and the poor American Scouts will start crawling into other Scouts tents.
    FYI – at last years Pride Festival in Toronto the Boy Scouts of Canada had a booth on Church St. This descrimination policy is an American policy not a worldwide Scouting policy.

  12. anon says

    I doubt a serious conviction will get you far with the scouts, but many minor offenses would probably get a pass (littering?).

    1st and 4th amendment issues abound here, which is how they get around employment non-discrimination laws based on religion. It would be like the Catholic church required to hire atheists at their schools.

  13. GB says

    Convicted criminals need the guidance The Scouts offer. Much more than a young Scout might take a chance on a Jerry Sandusky hiding in the ranks. This is a loaded story. Criminals vs. Gays? We’re digging deep on this one, but gays today are desperate.

  14. says

    The gay ban is stupid. As was noted above, a carte blanche ban on anyone with a criminal record would be illegal. But I want to point out that it would also be stupid.

    Please, let’s not set up some kind of hierarchy of oppression where it’s okay to discriminate against gay people as long as you’re also discriminating against anyone we perceive to be of even less value.

    A prior criminal record does not make anyone immediately unworthy to work with children (a history of, say, child sex abuse might, but that’s not what we’re talking about here) anymore than a person’s sexuality. Let’s get the Scouts to join the 21st Century without maligning another community in the process, shall we?

  15. lewlew says

    Why is it not obvious to the BS leaders that having OUT gay men in the Scouts is infinitely better than the current situation which only enforces the closet. The guys you have to worry about are the ones who are hiding. The ones who are out — if they would allow it — would be very invested in watching out for the bad dudes. Gay guys could root out those pedos in no time.