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Boy Scouts close to ending ban on gay members, leaders NBC

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  • So if we say that 99% of a pedophiles consider themselves Christians, does that mean that all Christians should be banned? Without the discrimination that BSA put in as policy, after my time as a youth, Scouting can return to dealing with what I consider the high ideals of Scouting, with local chartering organizations working together with their communities to provide a great environment for all kids to grow up in.

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    • Brewmeister may be right (I guarantee in the first press conference after the ruling, some tool will utter the words: This is a good start, but we have more work to do.) based upon this news story. It's interesting to see how a group that was OK with the proposed changes is now saying that they aren't enough - that every CO must implement this proposed policy.

      Furor Over Proposed Shift In Scouts No-Gays Policy

      By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer
      Thursday, January 31, 2013

      NEW YORK (AP) The Boy Scouts of America faces intensifying criticism from the
      left and right over a proposal to move away from a mandatory no-gays membership
      policy and allow troop sponsors to decide the matter for themselves.

      The Human Rights Campaign, a major gay-rights group that initially welcomed the
      BSA's possible shift, said Thursday that it was inadequate and demanded that the
      Scouts adopt a nationwide policy to accept gays as scouts and adult leaders.

      The HRC said corporations that continued to donate funds to the Scouts if any
      troops were allowed to discriminate would lose points in an annual evaluation of
      how major employers deal with gay-related workplace issues.

      Meanwhile, conservative groups which support the long-standing no-gays policy
      asked their followers to flood BSA headquarters with phone calls opposing any
      change, Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council,
      urged callers to persist even if they couldn't get through at first.

      "The BSA national leadership were not prepared for the thousands of Americans
      who were shocked to hear that an organization that could always be counted on
      for standing for what's right was about to cave in to homosexual activists and
      corporations," Perkins said in an emailed appeal.

      "It is so important that you keep the pressure on, to show them how devastating
      this moral collapse will be for the Scouts and the country," he said.

      Similar appeals were made by other conservative groups across the country.

      The Boy Scouts, who emphatically reaffirmed the no-gays policy just seven months
      ago, announced on Monday that they were considering a major change. Instead of
      mandatory exclusion of gays, the different religious and civic groups that
      sponsor Scout units would be able to decide for themselves how to address the
      issue either maintaining the exclusion or opening up their membership.

      The proposal is expected to be discussed, and possibly voted on, at a meeting of
      the Scouts' national executive board next week in Texas.

      Deron Smith, the Scouts' national spokesman, declined comment on the Human
      Rights Campaign's announcement and also denied reports that the Scouts were
      taking a poll to gauge public sentiment on the controversy.

      "When we receive calls we allow people to provide feedback, but if the board
      decides to address this topic, it will be about what is in the best interest of
      Scouting," Smith said. "Regardless of what people think about this issue,
      America needs Scouting."

      Many Scout units are sponsored by relatively conservative religious
      denominations notably the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of
      Latter-day Saints, and Southern Baptist churches. Catholic and Mormon leaders
      have withheld official comment on the proposal, but Southern Baptist officials
      have criticized it.

      The Rev. Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,
      wrote in a blog post that the new policy "is almost sure to please no one and to
      lead to disaster for the Scouts."

      "Those pressing for a reversal of the national policy are not likely to be
      satisfied with a local option," he wrote. "They had demanded a national policy
      mandating the full inclusion of homosexuals throughout Scouting at every level.

      "On the other side, those who wanted the current policy to remain in place will
      now have to reconsider any relationship with the Boy Scouts," Mohler added. "The
      scale of potential membership loss to the Boy Scouts of America is staggering."

      Fred Sainz, a vice president of the Human Rights Campaign, said Scout board
      members now needed to decide "what kind of America they want to be a part of"
      one that frowns on all discrimination or tolerates a degree of it.

      "The board has to make a decision one way or another," he said. "The policy
      proposal they're considering makes the problem worse, not better."

      The Human Rights Campaign's president, Chad Griffin, likened the proposed policy
      change "to a national restaurant chain saying that it will not discriminate at
      its corporate headquarters, but allow local restaurants to discriminate at
      will."

      To back up its stance, Griffin's organization said it would change the criteria
      for its annual Corporate Equality Index. To receive a perfect score, companies
      would have to prohibit philanthropic giving to civic organizations that have a
      written policy of anti-gay discrimination, or permit its chapters, affiliates,
      or troops to do so.

      Amid pressure from petition campaigns, two corporations UPS Inc. and Merck &
      Co. announced last year they were halting donations to the Scouts until the
      no-gays policy was changed. For 2011, UPS donated more than $85,000 and Merck
      gave $30,000 to the BSA and $10,000 to a regional Scout council.

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      • My son in college shares a four-bedroom apartment with two girls and a gay guy. But at age 21 he can A) take care of himself, and B) do what he dang well pleases anyway. I don't have an issue with his living arrangement.

        But trust me, if he were 14 he would not be sharing living space with those three people, even for a weekend campout.

        One element which seems to be absent from this conversation is the huge spread in maturity levels of Scouts between age 11 and 18. If it became known that one of my 17-y.o. Eagle Scout son's regular tent mates is gay, I probably wouldn't be too concerned about him continuing to share a tent with that fellow. Like his brother, I trust his judgement and his ability th handle himself. And if he's been sharing a tent with the same guys since Cub Scouts, I hardly see the point.

        But if the my son were 13, and he a 17-y.o. gay kid joins his patrol, the two of them is going to be a BIG problem. Likewise, if I have an 11-year old in the troop and found out there was an older gay Scout in the troop, I would be greatly concerned. Not because of I fear the gay Scout seducing or abusing my son, but because I would not want my child in that sort of environment. I would feel exactly the same way if Scouting suddently accepted girls and the older boys and girls were allowed to share tents. That is not the sort of influences I would want my son exposed to.

        I'm having a difficult time getting past the comparison of how we handle the logistics of mixed-sex groups with how we will potentially handle the logistics of having a gay Scout in the troop. We keep boys and girls separate for a lot of reasons -- to avoid temptations, to avoid the appearance of impropriety, to protect the privacy of the individuals. We don't make exceptions for boy-girl couples because we don't think they're actually having sex. Neither do we make exceptions if the boy and girl have grown up together and are long-time friends. Hell, we don't even allow adults in long-term committee relationship share a tent unless they are legally married.

        Maybe I'm just a dinosaur here and don't understand how things work these days. I'd love some to explain it to me.

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        • "But if the my son were 13, and he a 17-y.o. gay kid joins his patrol, the two of them is going to be a BIG problem. Likewise, if I have an 11-year old in the troop and found out there was an older gay Scout in the troop, I would be greatly concerned. Not because of I fear the gay Scout seducing or abusing my son, but because I would not want my child in that sort of environment. I would feel exactly the same way if Scouting suddently accepted girls and the older boys and girls were allowed to share tents. That is not the sort of influences I would want my son exposed to."

          "I'd be concerned about any 17 year old that wants to tent with an 11 year old regardless of whether they are openly gay or not."

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          • I'd be concerned about any 17 year old that wants to tent with an 11 year old regardless of whether they are openly gay or not.

            Yah, hmmm.... Why, Sentinel?

            Maybe if yeh grew up in a same-age-patrol troop it would be odd. In a mixed-age patrol troop, sometimes that's just da 17 year old Scout watchin' out for a younger boy who might be a bit scared, or who might have some special need or another that merits a more mature lad bein' in the tent "just in case." That'd be da sort of thing I would hope a youth leader would do.

            I think in terms of tentin' arrangements, we have to get out of our heads da notions we'd have in place if we were talkin' about strangers. Boys in a troop, boys and girls in a crew, they're more like family, eh? Would it be normal to share a room with your older brother? Most of us did at some point in our lives.

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            • "No, really, we're like family. It will be like sleeping with my sister."

              I can totally hear my guys trying to sell that.

              I only have one brother and two sons, so I have no idea what it's like to grow up with a sister. Sharing a room may be acceptable, but sharing a tent is more like sleeping together in a twin bed. That may work when you're 6 or 8, but at 16 or 17 I'd say it's pretty creepy. How about communal showers?

              But maybe you're right, Beav, and that's sorta my point. If sleeping and getting nekkid in front of folks who may be sexually attracted to each other is okay, then there's no problem. But then we should see a dumping of the YP rules for co-ed crews. If it's not okay, then we need to figure out how these rules and assumptions apply in a troop with gay Scouts.

              Units at either extreme of the membership options -- either a total ban on gays or total acceptance with no reservations -- have it relatively easy. Units which want to try to be accommodating but still maintain reasonable standards for what is proper have a whole lot of grey area to figure out.

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              • Thank you for posting that Lodge 489. Rather takes the question of why would anyone think the LGBT would go after Charter Organizations that would maintain the status quo right off the table, eh?

                At least it is now out there for all to see and National will not be able to just push this on down the line but have to man up and make a decision.

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                • LOL. Yah, TwoCubDad, I reckon if yeh take a poll at your next troop meeting, you'll discover that all of the boys do not actually sleep with their sisters at home.

                  I'm really gettin' too subtle with my points these days!

                  B

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                  • Adding a search point for discussion in progress before forum update. Hope this helps - RS

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                    • "But if the my son were 13, and he a 17-y.o. gay kid joins his patrol, the two of them is going to be a BIG problem. Likewise, if I have an 11-year old in the troop and found out there was an older gay Scout in the troop, I would be greatly concerned."

                      And and solution is pretty simple. Join a unit that doesn't accept gay members. There may be some initial reshuffling of units, but it won't be long until everyone can find a unit that meets their needs. The majority I suspect will stay where they are.

                      The tent sharing arrangements are not complicated. Two self identified gay scouts/leaders don't tent together. They tent alone or with a heteroscout/leader who is comfortable with the arrangment.

                      SA

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