Boy Scouts Send Out Survey to Pack Leaders Asking Questions About Gay Scenarios, Biased Policies: READ IT

Towleroad has obtained screenshots from a pack leader of a survey sent out by the Boy Scouts of America asking them to rate the acceptability of various scenarios related to gay scouts and scout leaders, along with some additional questions about its policies.

In early February, the BSA announced that it would not vote on lifting the ban then but delay it till May.

BsaThe questions in the survey seem pointed, to say the least:

Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop.
Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to
tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?

Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award at 16 years of age. At his board of review Tom reveals that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?

Johnny, a first grade boy, has joined Tiger Cubs with his friends. Johnny's friends and their parents unanimously nominate Johnny's mom, who is known by them to be lesbian, to be the den leader. Johnny's pack is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith does not teach that homosexuality is wrong. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for his mother to serve as a den leader for his Cub Scout den?

A troop is chartered by an organization that does not believe
homosexuality is wrong and allows gays to be ministers. The youth
minister traditionally serves as the Scoutmaster for the troop. The
congregation hires a youth minister who is gay. Is it acceptable or
unacceptable for this youth minister to serve as the Scoutmaster?

David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?

A gay male troop leader, along with another adult leader, is taking a group of boys on a camping trip following the youth protection guidelines of two-deep leadership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?

Other questions include this one, which is asked both before and after the questions asked above:

The current Boy Scouts of America requirements, stated above, prohibit open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders. To what extent do you support or oppose this requirement?

ScoutsMore questions:

Different organizations that charter Boy Scout troops have different positions on the morality of homosexuality. Do you support or oppose allowing charter organizations to follow their own beliefs when selecting Boy Scout members and adult leaders, if that means there will be different standards from one organization to the next?

What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting?

What is your greatest concern if the policy is changed to allow charter organizations to make their own decisions to admit openly gay Scouts and leaders?

Do you believe the current policy prohibiting open homosexuals from being Scouts or adult Scout leaders is a core value of Scouting found in the Scout Oath and Law?

If the Boy Scouts of America makes a decision on this policy that disagrees with your own view, will you continue to participate in the Boy Scouts, or will you leave the organization?

How likely is it that you would recommend volunteering in the Scouting program to other friends or acquaintances?

 Screenshots of the survey below (Click to enlarge):











  1. BZ says

    In reading these questions it sounds to me like they’re exploring a partial lift of the ban as a ploy to blunt criticism: we will permit gay scouts to do this or that, but they are still prohibited from doing thus-and-so. They can then claim credit for making “progress” and stave off loss of corporate sponsorship.

  2. Strepsi says

    I agree with @BZ, this sounds suspicious. Especially notice these 2 questions:

    “What is your greatest concern if the policy remains in place and openly gay youth and adults are prohibited from joining Scouting?”

    “What is your greatest concern if the policy is changed to allow charter organizations to make their own decisions to admit openly gay Scouts and leaders?”

    Where is the obvious third question:

    “What is your greatest concern if openly gay youth and adults are welcomed at all levels of Scouting?”

    It seems like the only option that would provide consistency, leadership, and equality, is absent.

  3. HadenoughBS says

    Good Gawd! How much more loaded can these BSA questions get? If this is how they’re going to measure discrimination regarding gay scouts and leaders, I seriously doubt anything is going to change.

  4. J. Alan says

    Nowhere do I see the question:

    “If the ban were lifted and a LGBT scout pack were created, would it be OK to deny heterosexual scouts/leaders solely based on that criteria?”

    Exclusion can go more than one way.

  5. johnny says

    The basic problem they have is their being tightly tied to churches and religious-based organizations. If that weren’t the case, this would be a non-issue.

    It’s all tied to money.

    The supposed “faith-based” connections are where the majority of the scout’s parents money flows in from. Piss them off and you turn that faucet off. And they are worried about that faucet, boys and girls.

  6. jpeckjr says

    “Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?”

    No, it is not. The heterosexual boy might decide in the course of the night to pummel the Bob into a bloody pulp as an expression of support for the Boy Scouts’ anti-gay policies. As a troop leader, I am responsible for the safety of every troop member. You just can’t trust straight kids these days.

  7. matt says

    Morally upright should replace morally straight in the scout oath, as that is obviously the meaning originally intended.
    Straight, as synonymous with heterosexual, is a more recent understanding.

  8. TampaZeke says

    A very clever collaborative effort by Salt Lake City and Rome! The questions are loaded. The answers are loaded. Everything about this “survey” screams push poll. Just one example: everyone knows that using the word “homosexual” instead of “gay and lesbian” results in more negative responses. So guess which option they chose?

  9. Maguitac says

    Gender hypocrisy makes me sick.

    “Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?”

    Men are so hung-up on penetration, and how through the ages FORCED penetration was the definition of owning a woman, that they would absolutely freak out at the thought of their boys being penetrated.

    Dumb*sses, how about your young 14 year-old girl shacking up with an out Lesbian? Nobody ever questions or cares about the validity of rape within female gender, as if they are inconsequential.

    How about raising children with the knowledge that forcing one’s sexuality on another is in ALL SITUATIONS UNACCEPTABLE. Your sexual orientation is in NO WAY an indication of your predatory violent behavior towards others!

    The problem with the “Boy scout” is in no way related to sexual orientation, that is not where the danger is coming from, it is the pedophiles that mistake the easy access to said upstanding organization for their favorite all-access playground, and for their predatory behaviors to run free. This truly pisses me off.

  10. Fensox says

    Meh, this is a great thing. These people are frightened, stupid and backwards. They need to get this crap out of their system. When dealing with stupid, bigoted, backwards people, you should slowly introduce them to the concept of insulting by questions. But let the offensive questions come in the start.

  11. GCW587 says

    The commenters here don’t understand how BSA is organized. You need to look at this as positive step and not read more into it, nor expect a full endorsement versus tolerance. Insisting on that will go no where as about half of all chartering units would drop out of BSA, and BSA is not about to commit suicide.

    Individual chartered organizations ALREADY have the right to restrict membership and leadership in their units, such as restricting membership to members of their church. When that happens, the local BSA District makes sure that there are other Scout units that accept others. No one has any heartburn over that and the vast majority of units accept folks of every religion.

    So the proposed policy is simply an extension of the current religious policies, to make sure that there is a place for gay kids in Scouting.

  12. donna says

    Some people are against homosexuality and some are for it. The main focus here should be whether or not an attraction could occur. Isn’t that why there is a boy scout and a girl scout, to separate the sexes. Whats the difference here? Straight little boys should have a right to attend a straight boy scout unit.Start up a gay boys scout and let our straight little boys and parents who are against it be comfortable with sending their children on over night camping trips.

  13. Isaac says

    In my opinion if the Boy Scouts of America is willing to change its Moral standing with every change in public sentiment it no longer has a moral standing and does not deserve my membership.

  14. David Hearne says

    I quit cub scouts in Fourth Grade.
    I simply didn’t understand the purpose of it.
    I lived in a semi-rural area, so it wasn’t like it was teaching me about the woods.
    I had a mom who taught me how to do crafts and a dad who taught me how to tie knots so I didn’t need someone else’s mother hovering over me.
    My grandmother or my aunt would watch me after school, so I didn’t need Scouts in lieu of day care.
    I simply didn’t see the enjoyment of hanging out in someone else’s house with their mom during my free time. I always thought that the time after school and before dinner belonged to me.

  15. David Hearne says

    Isaac –

    Your comment presumes that there is no objective way to determine a moral stand. Your position is in and of itself amoral.

    There is an organic morality in the world, one which is universal and found in all cultures including those which have a corrupt religious moral code imposed upon them.

    The Boy Scout policy is not moral in any organic way. Objectively, it is fear of witches.

    Having said that, the BSA is a private club which is entitled to discriminate in any way they choose as long as they aren’t sucking at the public tit preferentially. The public is also entitled to criticize the BSA as often and as loudly as the public chooses. If that makes the BSA uncomfortable: tough titty.

  16. Isaac says


    As you mentioned, this is a private club that is entitled to discriminate in any way they choose. I am simply commenting on the fact that the Boy Scouts of America has existed for over 100 years with a very strict moral code of honor that does not allow homosexuality among its members. That is a very moral policy. By changing this policy it is inherently saying “We do not stand by our morals any longer”.

  17. BobN says

    Uh… how about “Should the Boy Scouts of America be open to ALL boys in America?”

    I notice not a peep about that. Gay boys win and atheists lose? That’s not something I’m going to cheer about.

  18. Kyle says

    I hope they end discrimination against Scouts and restrict the local discretion to Scout leaders alone.

    @ISAAC Have you ever wondered why public sentiment has changed in favor of gay people? I think it’s because we know better know what homosexuality is and who it involves. I can grant you that promiscuity and adultery are immoral, but as a gay man I can’t even fathom how my attraction to men which came completely natural to me is immoral, how me being in love is immoral or how me being in a committed, monogamous relationship is immoral.

  19. says

    Just to expand slightly on Frank’s comment, the headline and intro to this post imply, by the use of the word “Pack,” that this survey has been sent and applies only to the Cub Scouts. But the screenshots show that it is, indeed, aimed at all of Scouting: Cub Scouts (packs), Boy Scouts (troops), and Explorers (teams, crews, ships).

  20. David Hearne says

    ” That is a very moral policy. By changing this policy it is inherently saying “We do not stand by our morals any longer”.”

    Posted by: Isaac | Mar 11, 2013 12:21:09 PM

    What is moral about the policy? How PRECISELY does it stand by a moral imperative which is aligned with either the universal Golden Rule or Jesus’ command to love thy neighbor as thyself?

    Using what I presume to be your moral index:

    36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

    37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

    38 This is the first and great commandment.

    39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

    40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

  21. Marc C says

    *Stands with mouth agape*

    I’m glad that I quit the Scouts years ago. Bunch of whiny, sniveling, ball-less slime, who are more than willing to allow the physical, mental, and emotional abuse by a member of the same sex as long as it is from a family member. I’d swear to emphasize my point, but TR doesn’t allow it. This just makes me soooooooo mad.

  22. Francis says

    GCW587 we’re not talking about religion. We’re talking about homosexuality. The vast majority of units don’t discriminate on the basis of religion, and that’s a good thing. You can bet your bottom dollar sexuality is going to be different. These kids will be left without anywhere to go because what’s going to happen is the scouting units in their area are all anti-gay.

    What about the Jamboree? How does that work, half of the units being anti-gay, the other half not? You think openly gay/bi teens won’t be bullied? Are they going to open the policy for gay kids and then ignore them and forget their existence?

    You’re right, full acceptance probably isn’t on the cards. But the lack of full acceptance IS going to cause problems. Are kids going to have to drive out of their cities to find units that accept them? What’s going to happen is that there are going to be new units created, more than likely, and those units will be progressive ones. Other units will accept gay/bi kids. Others won’t. It’s going to be scattered, and it’s because the BSA doesn’t want to take a stand, and yeah, it’s because of the $$$+power the churches have within the church.

    It is what it is. Progress is good but discrimination is still discrimination.

  23. Chuckles says

    I read this as a thoughtful survey to identify problem points where people are more/less sensitive and/or in need of discussion and education.

  24. Geoff says

    I’m a gay Eagle Scout. About 10 years ago my church (UCC) kicked the Boy Scouts out because of their policy banning gay scouts and leaders. It was a pretty tough decision for my church, but it was understood to be the right thing. I know of several cases in my area where this has occurred. There was no outcry from the Scouts or the Religious community when this occurred, nobody worried about the Scouts policies being against the chartering organization or how the Scouts would be harmed. It’s intellectually dishonest on the part of the opponents of changing the gay scouts policy to use the argument that it may be in direct conflict with chartering organizations beliefs as the current policy as it exists is already in direct conflict with many chartering organizations beliefs.

  25. Scout says

    To me, they make up problems of things that really isn’t a problem. I’m gay and I’ve been scouting my whole life. To me , the discrimination of LGBT-people from BSA is against everything the scouts are supposed to represent. In a pack, you support one another, regardless of faith or sexual orientation. That’s my view anyway.

  26. millerbeach says

    This is unbelievable. Unreal. No, make that surreal. Any respect I had for this organization is now gone. BSA leaders, you should be ashamed of yourselves. Using BSA as a personal platform is beyond sad. Shunning a gay boy at the time he needs leadership and guidance most…unforgivable. If your morals are so high, just ask yourself what would Jesus do? Do you know? I don’t think so…

  27. William says

    The very low reading level these questions were written in stands out! Is it true that most straight male leaders of boys are that functionally illiterate?

  28. Bill says

    One question: the web forms shown above seem to suggest that various options are selected by default (or if selected by accident, there is no way of unselecting them). At least one of them is a “yes or no” question with no “do not know / not sure” option, which causes biases (people won’t flip a coin in determining their responses).

    All questions should have a “don’t know or decline to state” option. It’s an poorly done survey. My guess is that it was done in a rush without any real review.

    Did Andy specifically check some of the items (possibly to get the server to give him the next page) or are these the default values that appear?

  29. ScreenShot says

    ^I provided the original screen shots, not to this site, to my brother and they ended up here. Regardless, the survey as I received it was blank without any of the radio buttons selected. I decided to check out the survey and I was required to make selections to obtain the next page. The URL provided included a respondent key so my selections were stored on the server providing the survey. When I decided to capture the screen shots I had to backtrack and there was no way to remove a selection or provide a neutral response for some questions.

  30. says

    The questions seem to suggest that the BSA is “testing the waters” of its own organization to gauge its members opinion / how they would react if BSA were to become more open to gays and lesbians. If the members seem open-minded, so will the BSA, and vice-versa. I’m thinking that this survey will be instrumental.

  31. Bill says

    @ScreenShot: that shows a serious flaw with the survey. By requiring you to give answers before going on to the next form, a respondent can’t indicate “no opinion” or “don’t know”. This makes the data noisier at best and biased at worst (and you might not even be able to predict which way it is biased).

    Also, while a form may come up with unselected radio buttons, if you ever select one by accident, then without some javascript coding using a separate control, there is no way of deselecting all buttons in the group.

    So, aside from the questions, the survey is really a joke – incompetently designed.

  32. Pat says

    Isaac, banning certain people is not a code of honor. It requires nothing of its members, for one thing.
    And moral does not mean old. Such bigotry is about as objectively IMmoral as something can possibly be.

    The fact that you refer to it as such proves that you have as little morality or honor as you do knowledge of what the words “morality” and “honor” mean.

    BobN, religiousness is an actual behavior, so it’s quite a bit different to include that in a behavior code. I’d support that if asked, but it’s not the same thing and I wouldn’t argue for it.

  33. says

    I could go on and on about this “survey”. But to summarize: It is NOT intended to be scientific, it is intended to get the result they want – keep the ban.

    The BSA is discriminatory, always has been, and probably always will be. They get at lesat 75% of their $$$$$ from fundamentalist Christian religious organizations and far right wing corporations. Why would they change? Oh wait! MONEY!!! Push it off to the units, so THEY have to take the heat! A$$holes.

    Peace <3

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