Boy Scout leaders unhappy with the group's decision last month to extend membership to openly gay youth have been steadily gathering supporters in the hopes of forming a new, antigay alternative. John Stemberger, an Eagle Scout and Florida lawyer, operates a web site, www.onmyhonor.net, that has become the gathering place for scout leaders and families disappointed and angry about BSA's new policy. The Dallas Morning News reports:
Gerry Cates, 62, an Abilene businessman and Eagle Scout, is among the many Texans who allowed Stemberger to use their names on his web site. He said he's willing to support the new group – assuming it gets off the ground – with a little money and personal networking.
"The whole thing makes me angry," Cates said. "I think the scout leadership caved to gay politics and ruined the whole deal."
During conversations with Cates and other critics of BSA's liberalized membership policy, the same issue keeps coming up – How will scoutmasters handle tent arrangements on campouts?
"I've got a 7-year-old grandson in Cub Scouts," Cates said. "When he gets old enough for Boy Scouts, what do you do about a 16-year-old gay kid in camp?"
BSA leaders stress that policy forbids any sexual behavior – homosexual or heterosexual – during scout activities. Violators will be punished, they insist
BSA consultants have reported that BSA might lose 10-12 percent of its 2.6 million members because of unhappiness with the new policy on gay scouts. Nonetheless, BSA's top leaders publicly backed the policy change.
Hundreds of people across the nation have already signed up as supporters on Stemberger's website. While the new group is not yet organized, supporters will be meeting this week in Louisville, Ky to discuss name options and the steps necessary to launch the organization nationwide. Announced name choices for the new organization include American Heritage Boys, American Sons of Liberty, and Patriot Rangers, among others.