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Eagle Scout Launches Petition To End Discriminatory BSA Policy Targeting His Gay Identical Twin: VIDEO

Liam Easton-Calabria

In support of his gay identical twin brother, August Easton-Calabriaand has launched a Change.org petition asking the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to end a policy preventing openly gay people participating in the organization once they turn eighteen, reports The Advocate.

August and his brother Liam (above) grew up as part of the BSA. Both reached the rank of Eagle Scout last year.

Bsa-logoThe petition reads in part:

“I am straight. Liam is gay. In the eyes of the BSA, I am worthy to share Scouting with my children, but he is not. This heartbreaking consequence for Liam, me, and our parents goes against all I learned in Scouting.

“In the face of the National Council’s continuing prejudice against gay and lesbian parents and volunteers, it is up to individuals and local Councils to demonstrate support for dropping the anti-gay ban. That is why I am calling on my local Council to follow the lead of other Councils across the country and speak out for change.”

The petition is now close to receiving 25,000 signatures.

Watch the short documentary Clipped Wings which tells Liam's story and follows Geoff McGrath, a scoutmaster who was ejected from scouting because of his sexuality, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Eagle Scout Launches Petition To End Discriminatory BSA Policy Targeting His Gay Identical Twin: VIDEO" »


California Judges Barred From Joining Boy Scouts Due To Discriminatory Ban on Gay Leaders

State judges in California can no longer be members of the Boy Scouts beginning next year — at least until the Scouts lift a ban on gay adult leaders. 

The California Supreme Court voted unanimously this week to eliminate an exception for youth nonprofits to a rule that prohibits judges from belonging to groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation. 

The San Francisco Chronicle reports: 

Scouts“The people of California have a right to an impartial and unbiased judiciary,” Richard Fybel, a state appeals court justice in Santa Ana and chairman of the high court’s ethics advisory committee, said Friday. “This is important to accomplishing that.” ... 

In a statement that responded to the committee’s proposal last year, Deron Smith, a spokesman at Boy Scouts headquarters in Irving, Texas, said the Scouts “would be disappointed with anything that limits our volunteers’ ability to serve more youth. ... Today, more than ever, youth need the character and leadership programs of Scouting.”

The proposal had drawn a mixed response from judges. In written comments to the court, one opponent said the prohibition would elevate “gay rights above religious freedom rights,” and another said it would interfere with judges’ rights to raise their children as they choose.

California judges have been barred from membership in groups that discriminate based on sexual orientation since 1996 — with the exception of youth nonprofits. In 2003, the state's high court amended the rule to say judges who are members of the Boy Scouts must disclose their affiliation in gay-rights cases and recuse themselves if there's a conflict of interest. 

Last year, the ethics advisory committee recommended eliminating the exception altogether, and the proposal was backed by the California Judges Association, which represents three-quarters of the state's judges.

The Chronicle notes that judges can still be members of religious groups that discriminate, but not groups that discriminate based on religion. The Boy Scouts is not considered a religious group but does discriminate based on religion — barring atheists in addition to gays.

In 2013, the Boy Scouts of America voted to lift a ban on gay youth but continue to bar gay adult leaders. The organization recently reported that membership dropped 7.4 percent in 2014 in the wake of the decision.  


Oops: The Ultimate Rick Perry Blooper Reel - VIDEO

Strong 

Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry will leave office this month as the longest-serving chief executive in the state's history. He's also been Texas' most anti-gay governor to date. 

Perry championed the state's 2005 marriage amendment, before holding a ceremonial signing of the legislation at an evangelical church in Fort Worth. When asked what he'd say to gay military veterans who protested outside the signing ceremony, Perry said: "Texans made a decision about marriage and if there's a state that has more lenient views than Texas, then maybe that's a better place for them to live.”

Years before, Perry had called Texas' sodomy ban "appropriate" before it was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas — but by 2011 he had apparently forgotten what the case was even about.  

He has also repeatedly compared homosexuality to alcoholism, including as part of his staunch defense of the Boy Scouts' ban on gays — a crusade which he once likened to opposing slavery. 

Perry ran a decidedly homophobic presidential campaign in 2012, which he kicked off with a rally hosted by the American Family Association, an anti-LGBT hate group. 

Of course, Perry's presidential campaign eventually crumbled thanks to a few of his trademark gaffes — which are the theme of a new video mashup toasting the departing governor from The Texas Tribune.

Given Perry's fascination with LGBT issues — he's also been dogged by rumors that he's closeted — it isn't surprising that the Tribune's blooper reel includes some of his most homophobic moments, such as his response to a question about "reparative therapy" last year, as well as a clip from his "Strong" presidential campaign ad. In the ad, which became the subject of some memorable memes, Perry declared while donning a "Brokeback Mountain"-esque jacket: "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school."

So long, Rick, we hardly knew ya. But we look forward to many more entertaining blunders in 2016 — assuming you're not in prison

Until then, watch the Tribune's mashup, AFTER THE JUMP ...

Continue reading "Oops: The Ultimate Rick Perry Blooper Reel - VIDEO" »


LGBT Advocates Cry Foul After Texas Leases 222 Acres To Anti-Gay Boy Scouts Of America For Nominal Fee

Perry

LGBT advocates in El Paso are objecting to the state of Texas' decision to lease a large tract of land to the Boy Scouts of America for a nominal amount.

The Texas Transportation Commission approved a 25-year lease Thursday for 222 acres in El Paso that reportedly will be the site of one of the Boy Scouts' largest urban camps. 

The Boy Scouts of America, based in Irving, Texas, lifted a ban on gay youth last year but retained a ban on gay adult leaders. 

The El Paso Times reports:  

The state is waiving a requirement that it seek fair-market value for the property "for social mitigation purposes."

It's not appropriate to give such public resources to an organization that does not allow gay men to serve as scoutmasters, said Skip Rosenthal, executive director of the group International AIDS Empowerment of El Paso and Las Cruces.

"Our city should be opposing this," Rosenthal said. "We should not be giving government perks to an organization that discriminates against gay men."

Rosenthal is calling on the city of El Paso, which has an ordinance prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination, to pass a resolution opposing the lease. 

Texas has no state law that prohibits it from entering contracts with organizations that discriminate against gays.

Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry (above), who appoints members of the Transportation Commission, is an Eagle Scout who published a book about the Boy Scouts in 2008 in which he compared homosexuality to alcoholism. 

Of course, the irony of the Boy Scouts' ban on gay adult leaders is that the organization has been covering up sex abuse by Scoutmasters for nearly a century. 

This week, a jury in Connecticut found the Boy Scouts negligent and awarded $7 million to a man who was sexually abused by a Scoutmaster in the 1970s. It was the largest compensatory damages verdict ever against the Boy Scouts. 

The Connecticut Post reports: 

During the trial, the plaintiff's attorneys introduced evidence that the Boy Scouts of America knew for decades before the 1970s that child sexual abuse was widespread in Boy Scout troop activities across the country. Witnesses in the trial said the Boy Scouts maintained thousands of secret cases it called "the Confidential Files," dating to the early 1920s. The files were held in locked cabinets in the Boy Scouts national headquarters in Dallas, according to the attorneys.

Rather than using the information to inform and educate local troop leaders, parents and Scouts about the existence of sexual abuse, the plaintiff claimed, the Boy Scouts hid the information, partly out of concern for protecting the Boy Scouts' all-American image.


Colorado Woman Says Boy Scouts Refused to Hire Her Because She's Gay: VIDEO

Scouts

A Colorado woman is claiming that the Boy Scouts of America offered her a job only to rescind the offer after finding out she's gay, Denver's FOX 11 reports

After being offered the position of Director of the New Adventure Center, Yasmine Cassini sent an email to the organization asking whether her being an "openly gay woman" would be an issue for the BSA, which still has a discriminatory policy banning gay adults from serving in leadership roles. It seems it was an issue, as the BSA told Cassini in a follow-up phone call that she no longer met the minimum qualifications for the position and would not be hired. 

The Boy Scouts would not talk to FOX31 Denver on camera, but the organization released the following statement:

“As this is a personnel matter, we are not at liberty to discuss details. But, during the employment process, this individual brought it to our attention that she did not meet the requirements for employment.” [...]

Yasmine Cassini says she though the Boy Scouts recent youth membership modifications would provide the perfect spot for progress. “I want to raise awareness that discrimination is not OK – and it’s something that is still occurring and it has to stop, something needs to change and that change needs to happen now,” she says.

Watch a FOX 11 news report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Colorado Woman Says Boy Scouts Refused to Hire Her Because She's Gay: VIDEO" »


Kansas Democratic Candidate For Governor Pulls Ad Featuring Actor With Gay Prostitution Arrest - VIDEO

Paul davis kansas campaign ad

Kansas Democratic gubernatorial candidate Paul Davis has pulled a campaign ad featuring an actor who in 2007 was arrested on suspicion of soliciting a male prostitute, reports The Wichita Eagle.

The actor, Jeff Montague was also banned from the Boy Scouts of America in 1989 after the organization learned that he had been suspended from a teaching position at a Topeka high school “for inappropriate conduct with a male foreign exchange student.”

In a statement, Davis said:

“It was brought to our attention that a participant in one of those ads has serious issues in his background. Upon hearing of these issues, the ad, which ran for a few hours, was pulled down immediately. I want to apologize to Kansans for this mistake.”

Reacting to the news, Clay Barker, the executive director of the Kansas Republican Party suggested that Davis may no longer be fit for office.

Watch a report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Kansas Democratic Candidate For Governor Pulls Ad Featuring Actor With Gay Prostitution Arrest - VIDEO" »


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