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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.


Gay Eagle Scout Urges Amazon to Drop Boy Scouts from Charity List

Tessier

Gay Eagle Scout Pascal Tessier has launched a campaign protesting Amazon's support of the Boy Scouts, the Washington Post reports:

Pascal Tessier, a 17-year-old from Chevy Chase, Md., who made history when he received the Boy Scouts’ highest ranking earlier this year, held a news conference Monday in front of Amazon.com’s office in Northwest Washington. At the event, he announced his intent to deliver more than 120,000 signatures to the company’s Seattle office in an effort to encourage the online retailer to drop the Boy Scouts from the list of organizations that can benefit from its charitable program, AmazonSmile.

Amazon spokesman Ty Togers told the WaPo that it's the Southern Poverty Law Center's responsibility that the charity is on Amazon's list: "We rely on lists published by the Southern Poverty Law Center and the U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control to determine if certain organizations are ineligible to participate."

Tessier plans to travel to Seattle on Wednesday to petition the company and CEO Jeff Bezos, who also owns the WaPo.


Boy Scouts Prepare to Force Out Gay Eagle Scout While Allowing His Straight Twin Brother to Stay: VIDEO

Easton-calabria

Liam and August Easton-Calabria are Eagle Scouts. They are also twin brothers.

Soon, Liam (right) will be forced out of the Scouts because he is gay. His brother is straight.

Seattle's KOMO News interviewed the twins about the discrimination.

Said Liam: "It was an interesting revelation to see the Boy Scouts come together as a non-inclusive organization. I don't think it's true to the scouting way. I mean, absolutely, scouting should be an inclusive organization."

Watch KOMO's report, AFTER THE JUMP...

In related news, Geoffrey McGrath, whose story we have featured quite a few times recently on Towleroad, is fighting the Scouts after being forced out over his sexual orientation. And the BSA has pulled the church's charter for standing by him.

Continue reading "Boy Scouts Prepare to Force Out Gay Eagle Scout While Allowing His Straight Twin Brother to Stay: VIDEO" »


Eagle Scout Loses Summer Job with Boy Scouts After Being Outed on Facebook: VIDEO

Bryant_wahls

Eagle Scout Garrett Bryant was fired from his job by the Boy Scouts after being outed on Facebook, NBC News reports:

Under Scouting policy, gay youth are welcome, but gay adults are not. As a 19-year-old college freshman, Bryant knew that his chance to work again at a Boy Scout camp this summer — and hold any other future leadership position — depended on how well he hid his status as a gay man from his friends and colleagues in Scouting.

But with one Facebook post, Bryant was out — out as a gay adult in Scouting and, according to three sources in local Scouting, out of that summer job.

He thought the post was vague enough: In a moment of exuberance last month over meeting his first boyfriend, Bryant changed his Facebook status to “in a relationship,” adding no comment or details. But the status change prompted revealing, congratulatory comments from non-Scouting friends who knew his sexual orientation, such as “Oh, good for you, man, what's his name?’”

Although Bryant deleted the comments it was over for him and camp leaders told him they would not hire him back to Camp Geronimo, outside of Phoenix, because they had seen the posts.

Bryant did everything he could to keep his sexual orientation private, and thought he wouldn't fall under the Scouts' discriminatory policy because of his age, but to no avail.

Bryant spoke with MSNBC's Ari Melber and Eagle Scout and LGBT ally Zach Wahls last night on The Last Word. His story was also covered by the Arizona Republic.

Watch both segments, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Eagle Scout Loses Summer Job with Boy Scouts After Being Outed on Facebook: VIDEO" »


Tuesday Speed Read: Chuck Hagel, Human Rights Charter, North Carolina, Tennessee, Michigan, Boy Scouts

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

DOD SIGNS MORE INCLUSIVE CHARTER: Hagel

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel signed a “Human Goals Charter” Monday. “By signing this charter today,” said Hagel during the ceremony, “DOD’s civilian and military leaders commit ourselves – all of us – to making DOD a model for equal opportunity and [fair treatment] for all. …As the charter says, we will continue striving to make military service a model – a model of equal opportunity for all, regardless of race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or national origin.” SPART*A, an LGBT military organization, called the addition of “sexual orientation” to the charter a welcome “symbolic gesture” but only a “first step.” "The next logical step,” said SPART*A Policy Director Allyson Robinson, “is to amend related DoD directives to add sexual orientation to military equal opportunity and non-discrimination policies; only then will gay and lesbian service members be protected.” SPART*A noted that sexual orientation was added to the Human Goals Charter for DOD’s civilian force in 1998.

CHURCH CHALLENGE: Ucc

In a first of its kind lawsuit, a group of ministers filed a complaint in federal court Monday against North Carolina’s ban on marriage for same-sex couples, saying that the law’s penalties against clergy who conduct ceremonies for same-sex marriages violates their free exercise of religion. The lawsuit, United Church of Christ v. Cooper, was organized by the United Church of Christ and filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of North Carolina, in Charlotte. Jon Davidson, legal director for Lambda Legal, called the lawsuit “particularly promising” because North Carolina law makes it a misdemeanor for a “minister, officer or any other person authorized to solemnize a marriage” under North Carolina law to marry a couple without them having obtained a marriage license, which same-sex couples cannot obtain from the state.

N.C. AG OPPOSES RELIEF: R_cooper

The Democratic attorney general of North Carolina, Roy Cooper, filed a brief in another marriage equality lawsuit Monday, opposing a request to recognize a lesbian couple’s marriage in Massachusetts on an expedited basis to secure health coverage for their sick child. In the ACLU-led lawsuit, Fisher-Borne v. Smith, Cooper said the potential harm for the family is “outweighed by the harm to the public if State officials are enjoined from enforcing the democratically ratified State laws and Constitution.”

APPEALS COURT GRANTS STAY:

A three-judge panel of the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals April 5 granted Tennessee’s request for a stay of a district court judge’s ruling. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger denied the request for a stay on a narrow and temporary order she issued in Tanco v. Haslam in March requiring the state to recognize the marriage licenses of three same-sex couples who obtained marriage licenses out of state. The panel granted the stay and ordered that a hearing by a panel of the appeals court should be scheduled “without delay” to hear the merits of the state’s appeal.

AND ‘NO’ TO SKIPPING A STEP:

The Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals also issued an order Monday, denying the state of Michigan’s request to skip over a three-judge panel and go straight to the full appeals court with its appeal of a district court ruling that its ban on same-sex marriages is unconstitutional. The one-page order stated simply that “no judge of this court” voted to send the case directly to the full bench.

BOSTON GLOBE ON BOYS SCOUTS:

A Boston Globe editorial Monday characterized the Boy Scouts of America policy banning gay scout leaders as “stuck in the past” and said “the organization itself exists in a 1950s time warp….[where] there are no merit badges for inclusiveness….”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Monday Speed Read: Taxes, Alaska, Texas, Project One America, Boy Scouts, Asian Commission

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

ALASKA COURT TAX VICTORY: Aclu_alaska

In a partial victory, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled unanimously Friday that a tax break given to seniors and people with disabilities “potentially treats same-sex couples less favorably than it treats opposite-sex couples.” The ACLU-led case, State v. Schmidt, was appealed to the high court by the state and Anchorage on behalf of three same-sex couples. The court ruled that the denial of the partial property tax exemption to same-sex couples who cannot marry violates the equal protection guarantee of the state constitution. (The ruling did not include the third couple because neither partner formally owned the property.) In its decision, the court said the state’s existing ban on same-sex marriages does not prohibit or permit the state to offer or deny a benefit it grants to married couples to same-sex couples “who demonstrate they are similarly situated to married couples.” Committed same-sex couples who want to marry,” said the decision, “are similarly situated to opposite-sex couples who want to marry.”

NellermoeDIVORCE DELAYED:

A Texas appeals court on Thursday granted a request to stay a state district judge’s ruling that the state “cannot discriminate against same-sex couples” and that the state’s ban against allowing same-sex couples to marry violates the child’s right to equal protection of the law. The Austin Statesman reports that the appeals court in San Antonio granted state Attorney General Greg Abbott’s request for an emergency stay of the ruling. Abbott said Judge Barbara Nellermoe’s ruling in the lesbian divorce and custody case last Tuesday could create “legal chaos.” The appeals court has set a May 5 deadline for briefs in the appeal.

PoaSHORING UP THE SOUTH:

The Human Rights Campaign Saturday announced a three-year, $8.5 million project to help improve legal protections for LGBT people living in three southern states. The campaign, called Project One America, will also devote a staff of 20 people concentrating on Alabama, Arkansas, and Mississippi –the states where, says an HRC press release, “there are no non-discrimination protections for LGBT people at the state or local level in employment, housing or public accommodations, and where each state’s constitution expressly prohibits marriage equality.” HRC says it has 57,000 members in these three states.

BsaBOY SCOUT BELLY FLOP:

Legal counsel for the Louisville Metro Council advised the local Boy Scouts troop last week that the city could not pay for the group to use a local pool because the Boy Scouts’ policy exhibits “intentional discrimination.” The Louisville Courier-Journal reported April 25 that at least $45,000 in city money was appropriated for scout activities last year. It said the troop’s assistant scoutmaster threatened to end scout volunteer work at local park clean-ups in retaliation it the city doesn’t provide the financial assistance.

TWO NAMED TO ASIAN COMMISSION:

Two of the 14 newly named members of President’s Advisory Commission on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders are openly gay. One is the head of Asia Services in Action, Inc., Michael Byun, of Ohio; the other is actor Maulik Pancholy, best known for is secondary roles on the hit series 30 Rock and Weeds.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


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