Writing today in Time magazine's Swampland blog,
an anonymous gay employee of the BSA today described his experience
working for the organization and said he will be forced to quit if the
ban on gay adults remains in place:
I have hoped for years that the time would come when the ban would be lifted. The Boy Scouts need to catch up to the American people’s view on equality. Boy Scout members span political parties, socioeconomic classes and live in locations as dense as New York City and as rural as Wyoming. A Washington Post – ABC News poll released just this month shows a majority of Americans believe that both gay youth and adults should be allowed to join the Boy Scouts of America.
The proposed resolution to allow openly gay youth is a good first step, but it cannot stop there. If the resolution to repeal the ban on gay Scouts is approved, dedicated gay adult volunteers and employees, like me, will still be kept in the closet, and I will have no choice but to resign. For too many years, I eschewed relationships, felt uncomfortable around co-workers and have been forced to remain cloaked in secrecy. I cannot continue to live in the shadows. It is not healthy, nor is it ethical.
This Thursday, the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America will vote on whether to life the organization's decades-old ban on gay members. Not surprisingly, activists on both sides of the issue are digging in for a full-throated debate. The AP reports:
Some conservatives within and outside the BSA community have denounced the proposal, saying the Scouts' traditions would be undermined by the presence of openly gay youth. There have been warnings of mass defections if the ban is even partially lifted.
From the other flank, gay-rights supporters and some Scout leaders from politically liberal areas have welcomed the proposed change as a positive first step, but are calling on the BSA to go further and lift the ban on gay adults as well.
Other portions of the organization are going rogue.
Earlier this month, a Los Angeles Scout unit–the 14th
largest in the nation–called for the end of the policy against gay Scout leaders. And just this week, the president of the Connecticut Yankee Council openly defied the group's policies, writing on the Scout unit's website,:"Scouting in the Connecticut Yankee Council is open to all youth and
adults who subscribe to the values of the Scout Oath and Law regardless
of their personal sexual orientation."
In January, the BSA proposed a don't ask/don't tell-esque policy that would have allowed individual Scout units to determine whether or not to admit gay members. The following month, the organization's executive board postponed a vote on the proposal and decided instead to seek comment from its members and put the decision to a larger vote.
The Boy Scouts' new proposal has garnered the support of the Mormon Church, which called it a "thoughtful, good-faith" effort to address the issue of gay scouts. Yesterday, the Catholic Church issued a statement that stopped short of endorsing the measure but stated that regardless of any change in policy, the church would "strive to maintain [its] ties with the BSA."