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New Webseries ‘Camp Abercorn’ to Spotlight Boy Scouts Ban on Gay Leaders: VIDEO

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An upcoming webseries centering on the experiences of being a part of the Boy Scouts of America is set to include a storyline about the BSA’s refusal to allow gay adults to serve in leadership roles.

The Huffington Post reports:

Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 2.01.18 PMCreated by Jeffrey Simon [pictured right] and starring "Friday Night Lights" veteran Brad Leland, "Camp Abercorn" focuses on a fictional scouting organization called the Compass Guides of America, and focuses on "the real situations young men face while away from home for an entire summer."

Simon, who was an active Eagle Scout before coming out as gay at 19, says his new series aims to "re-direct the conversation away from executives in fancy offices and bring it back to the values of scouts and importance of camp."

The team has launched an Indiegogo campaign to help raise funds for the planned seven episode series.

Check out the debut trailer, AFTER THE JUMP

Continue reading "New Webseries ‘Camp Abercorn’ to Spotlight Boy Scouts Ban on Gay Leaders: VIDEO" »


Boy Scouts to Lead NYC Pride March This Sunday

Boy scoutsAt the 44th Annual NYC Pride March this Sunday, New York-area Boy Scouts will be among the groups leading the parade as they speak out against the Boy Scouts of America’s discriminatory ban on gay adults. 

GLAAD reports:

Three generations of Boy Scouts -- gay and straight -- will be on hand and in uniform at nation's oldest and largest LGBT Pride event, where they will present the American flag during the national anthem and subsequently serve as Color Guard during the march. [...]

“We are grateful for this invitation from NYC Pride, and we are honored and humbled to provide this patriotic service to the LGBT community of New York,” said Stacey Sarnicola, Brooklyn chapter lead, Scouts for Equality. “Since 1978, the BSA has held a policy that excluded gay youth and parents. While the BSA voted last year to end the policy barring gay youth from participation, it has made no change in its membership policy regarding adults. The Greater New York Councils' inclusive policy is what gave me permission to allow my son to join the Boy Scouts. It's what gives us permission to march, and it gives us hope for a BSA for all in the near future."

Slc boy scoutsGLAAD adds that it remains unclear what repercussions (if any) will face the Scouts after participating in the march. BSA policy prohibits members from using Scouting to "promote or advance any social or political agenda" and Scout leaders who have marched in past Pride parades have been reprimanded and told to sign letters of apology for the violations. The Greater New York Councils, which serves nearly 150,000 Scouts in New York City, however, has previously emphasized its commitment to full inclusion of gay Scouts.


Attorney General Eric Holder Blasts Boy Scouts Over Discriminatory Ban on Gay Leaders

In remarks delivered to Lambda Legal on Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder slammed the Boy Scouts of America’s refusal to allow gay adults in the organization, saying the ban “perpetuates the worst kind of stereotypes.”

HolderNBC News reports:

"If these men and women are fit for military service, then surely they are fit to mentor, to teach, and to serve as role models for the leaders of future generations."

Holder said the Boy Scouts of America is "an iconic American institution." But he said its policy is "a relic of an age of prejudice and insufficient understanding."

Last month, BSA President Robert Gates, who oversaw the end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2011, said that while he personally supports gay scoutmasters, he opposes any further attempts to address the policy now.  


SPLC Urges Amazon to Drop Boy Scouts From Charity List Over Anti-gay Policy

The Southern Poverty Law Center has written a letter to Amazon urging the online retailer to drop the Boy Scouts of America from its charitable program AmazonSmile over the BSA’s discriminatory policy towards gay adults.

The letter came in response to an Amazon spokesman who was quoted earlier this month saying that the company relies on lists published by the SPLC to determine if certain organizations are ineligible to participate in AmazonSmile – presumably to prevent contributions going to designated ‘hate groups’

Boy scoutsWrote SPLC Co-Founder and General Counsel Joe Levin: 

It is true that we do not list the BSA as a hate group. We define a hate group as one that attacks or maligns an entire group of people, typically because of their immutable characteristics, or that knowingly spreads falsehoods in an attempt to denigrate a group of people. The BSA does not meet those criteria.

But the lack of a hate group designation for the BSA does not mean we condone the organization's discrimination and intolerance. The BSA's policy of barring openly gay adults from participation in leadership positions is inconsistent with the SPLC's mission of tolerance, its efforts to end prejudice, and its history of opposition to discriminatory treatment of gays and lesbians. [...]

We further believe that BSA does not meet the criteria for eligibility stated on your website, specifically that participating groups cannot "engage in, support, encourage, or promote intolerance, hate, terrorism, violence, money laundering, or other illegal activities."

There is no question that the BSA's policy toward gay men qualifies as intolerant - by anyone's standards, but especially ours.

We believe the BSA should not be eligible for AmazonSmile. And while we appreciate the fact that Amazon uses our hate group list to disqualify certain organizations, the lack of inclusion on that list should not be read as an endorsement. Thank you for your consideration.

In a similar move last week, LGBT scouts and advocates hand-delivered more than 125,000 petition signatures to Amazon’s company headquarters in Seattle urging the online retailer to drop the BSA from its charity list.  


Amazon Receives 125K Hand-Delivered Petitions to Drop Boy Scouts Over Its Anti-gay Policy

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Earlier this week, LGBT scouts and advocates hand-delivered more than 125,000 petition signatures to Amazon’s company headquarters in Seattle urging the online retailer to suspend its financial support of the Boy Scouts of America until the organization lifts its ban on gay adults.

Screen Shot 2014-05-24 at 10.45.35 AMGay Eagle Scout Pascal Tessier (above, center) launched the Change.org campaign on Tuesday in support of ousted gay Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath (above, right). In April, the BSA removed McGrath from his leadership position in the first enforcement of last year's new rules barring openly gay adults. 

Head over to GLAAD’s flicker page to see more photos from the event.

On Friday, Former Secretary of Defense and newly elected Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates said he would have pushed for openly gay adults to be allowed the organization had he been in charge last year, but opposes any attempts to re-address the policy at the moment.


Boy Scouts President Robert Gates Would've Welcomed Gay Adults, Doesn't Want to Reopen Issue Now

Robert gatesFormer Secretary of Defense and newly elected Boy Scouts of America president Robert Gates said in an interview on Friday that he would have pushed for openly gay adults to be allowed the organization had he been in charge when BSA leadership made the controversial decision to end its ban on openly gay youth (but not gay adults) last year. 

"I was prepared to go further than the decision that was made," Gates told The Associated Press in an interview in advance of a speech before the group's national leaders at its annual meeting in Nashville, Tennessee. "I would have supported having gay Scoutmasters, but at the same time, I fully accept the decision that was democratically arrived at by 1,500 volunteers from across the entire country.

Gates, who oversaw the end of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 2011, sees welcoming gay youth into Scouting as an important step forward - but said he opposes any further attempts to address the policy now.

"Given the strong feelings — the passion — involved on both sides of this matter, I believe strongly that to re-open the membership issue or try to take last year's decision to the next step would irreparably fracture and perhaps even provoke a formal, permanent split in this movement — with the high likelihood neither side would subsequently survive on its own," Gates said in prepared remarks.

A handful of anti-gay conservatives who opposed the inclusion of openly gay boys have already started their own Mike Huckabee-approved scouting alternative: Trail Life USA.


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