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National looking at letting homosexuals in the BSA

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Our scouting program is not the place for left wing idealogs to promote their agenda.

 

But it is the place for right wing idea-logs to promote their agenda? Why is that?

 

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Neither right or left should be using the BSA as a political weapon. We are not supposed to be political at all, only patriotic. There is no solution for this that will completely satisfy either side. So, if you believe the positive of BSA outweighs the negative, then simply work the program locally and keep it to yourselves. Only deal with divisive issues if they come up; don't go looking for them.

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Our scouting program is not the place for left wing idealogs to promote their agenda.

 

But it is the place for right wing idea-logs to promote their agenda? Why is that?

I don't hear from any right-wing conservatives trying to force tranformational change to an organization that has a fairly well known and established policy. If you are currently a member of the BSA, than you have already decided that this issue is not important enough to keep you from joining.

 

We may well find out that many people are less committed to this organization when it starts to bend to social-political pressures to change. I support the BSA because they are (or were) different. If they become just another PC club, then my interest level starts to fade. Not saying that I'm out yet. Just loosing interest.

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I can agree with your sentiment, skeptic. I don't see anyone on the right trying to use the BSA as a political battleground. This issue is being forced onto the BSA. I for one don't want to see any sort of lifestyle witch hunt. Keep it to yourself and we will all be fine. This is just a very fine line, when special interest groups are pushing the issue so hard.

 

A "don't ask, don't tell" policy is not good enough for the gay rights community. Any I cannot tollerate the normalization of alternatice lifestyles being promoted in my scout troop. So this just sounds like we might just be at an impass.

 

Look at how many have left the Girl Scout program. Accept for cookie sales, they have very little visability. (not trying to offend and GSUSA folks). My sister has been a GS volunteer for over 20 years and have tons of respect for her.

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I can agree with your sentiment, skeptic. I don't see anyone on the right trying to use the BSA as a political battleground. This issue is being forced onto the BSA. I for one don't want to see any sort of lifestyle witch hunt. Keep it to yourself and we will all be fine. This is just a very fine line, when special interest groups are pushing the issue so hard.

 

A "don't ask, don't tell" policy is not good enough for the gay rights community. Any I cannot tollerate the normalization of alternatice lifestyles being promoted in my scout troop. So this just sounds like we might just be at an impass.

 

Look at how many have left the Girl Scout program. Accept for cookie sales, they have very little visability. (not trying to offend and GSUSA folks). My sister has been a GS volunteer for over 20 years and have tons of respect for her.

CaveEagle, you stated, "This issue is being forced onto the BSA. I for one don't want to see any sort of lifestyle witch hunt."

For some reason I was under the impression that BSA chose to eject Dale and their decision to eject Dale was the beginning of this issue. Do you know of an earlier action than this one?

Can you quote me the written BSA policy against homosexuals that existed at that time. I'm trying to find it and haven't been able to. I was in scouting back then and I was completely unaware of the anti-gay policy. I still haven't actually seen it in written form, at least not from that time.

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I don't hear from any right-wing conservatives trying to force tranformational change to an organization that has a fairly well known and established policy.

 

What on earth do you think the Dale case was? Before then, the largest single group of charter partners were public schools, not any more. How is that for transformational? The US military used to be something like the sixth (I can't remember at the moment) largest group of COs, now it's zero. How is that for transformational? When I was a kid and a boy scout, the BSA was primarily a patriotic organization, then it got hijacked by the right-wing. That was transformational! Before Dale being gay or not was a unit issue, then the BSA chose to make it a national one. How many public school and military units did we loose?

 

So a group forced transformational change to the BSA in the 90s (I don't remember any surveys or votes on the change - just national imposing it) and that was OK? But try to change it back to what it should be and it's "how dare you!" or "you have no right!" and "you hate the BSA and are trying to destroy it!". Really? I'm sorry, but that all sounds pretty disingenuous to me.

 

I agree the BSA shouldn't be a political weapon. Unfortunately in the 90s the right chose to make it one, and we are stuck dealing with that.

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Pack;

 

There were some other similar issues that came up before Dale, but National did not get involved, so they did not reach the level Dale did. I too do not remember any real issues with this at all until the 90's when the Gay political movement really began its push in various arenas. We will not likely ever get the total truth on Dale, but it appears from what data is available that someone in the council took exception to the college involvement in a very public activity, even though it was NOT in the local area. My understanding is that the unit from which he came had no issues; it was someone outside. Apparently that person and perhaps a few others had some pull in the local council and decided to push it. Of course, it then became a National issue very quickly when the Gay supporters chose to use it as a test; or at least that is the way it appears to me.

 

What is sad is that if the local council had just let the local unit determine its membership, and told the outside individual(s) it had nothing to do with them it may very well have not reached the level it did. I do suspect that if Dale had not been the touch point, another would have soon been found due to the beginning of the modern Gay political maneuvering. Just my take from the bits and pieces easily found. Someone in the actual council area that was around then may have a lot more light to shine on it, but it is way too late now.

 

So, here we are walking that thin line at the unit level, trying to keep the idiocy of the radicals on both sides from destroying us. I still see a possible glimmer of hope for adults in the less obvious wording of the overall proposal that deals with NO types of agendas being acceptable within the program, and specifying that ANY disruptive leader may be disallowed. The biggest hurdle is the one of movement from youth to adult if the status would change. How they deal with that is beyond me, unless they amend the resolution or something.

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I do suspect that if Dale had not been the touch point' date=' another would have soon been found due to the beginning of the modern Gay political maneuvering.[/quote']

 

I agree with you that if not Dale, something else would have become the issue. Though I don't think it was "modern Gay political maneuvering" that was the cause. It has more to do with the rise of the religious-right in the 1980s and the start of the "culture wars". There was a full court press on to weaken separation of church and state by the religious-right, and to partially "establish" their version of the christian faith (see the arguments around prayer in school as one example). Taking over a core American institution like the BSA was part of this process. And no, it wasn't some sort of grand conspiracy, it was just part of a large social movement in the US (a social movement that is still continuing today).

 

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There was one major case involving a would-be assistant scoutmaster who was kicked out in 1980, about 10 years before the Dale case started. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curran_v._Mount_Diablo_Council_of_the_Boy_Scouts_of_America. This was a case out of California. It was decided by the California Supreme Court in 1998, 2 or 3 years before Dale was decided. It WOULD have been the "big case" instead of Dale, if the Cal. Supreme Court had decided that the BSA was violating the state's anti-discrimination statute. They did not, and instead found that the BSA was not a "business" (and maybe not a "public accommodation" either, the article doesn't mention that but I would be surprised if it was never brought up.) That decision effectively made it impossible for the plaintiff to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, because the decisive issue was an issue of state law, not federal law. (That problem did not seem to faze a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Bush v. Gore, but that's another discussion.) The reason the Dale case became "the" case is that the New Jersey Supreme Court became the first state highest-court to rule that the BSA was violating a state anti-discrimination statute (based on their decision that the BSA was a "public accommodation.") That allowed the BSA to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court based on their argument that the NJ anti-discrimination statute (as interpreted by the NJ Supreme Court) violated the BSA's First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court bought that argument by a 5-4 vote.

 

None of this really changes the point made by Packsaddle and Rick, with which I totally agree. It just affects the timing a little. I believe that the BSA "started it", when they kicked these guys out.

 

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I believe that the BSA "started it"' date=' when they kicked these guys out. [/quote']

 

Interesting case. One thing that isn't clear from the Wikipedia article, who initiated the expulsion, the local unit or district?

 

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I believe that the BSA "started it"' date=' when they kicked these guys out. [/quote']

 

Interesting case. One thing that isn't clear from the Wikipedia article, who initiated the expulsion, the local unit or district?

Rick, if you click on the first reference in that article, it will take you to the decision itself, all 98 pages of it. I'm not going to read it. :) The first sentence of the decision says Curran's "application to become an assistant scoutmaster was rejected by defendant, a regional council of the Boy Scouts of America." I assume that "regional council" is what someone who doesn't know the structure of the BSA might call a "council", which is supported by the fact that the defendant in the case was the Mount Diablo Council. But the question of who first "blew the whistle" may or may not be answered further down in the 98 pages.

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I believe that the BSA "started it"' date=' when they kicked these guys out. [/quote']

 

Interesting case. One thing that isn't clear from the Wikipedia article, who initiated the expulsion, the local unit or district?

It was another newspaper article:

The impetus for this meeting [with the Scout Executive of the local council] was a newspaper article printed in a local newspaper about gay youth. The article included a picture of Tim and his male date to his school prom.

From bsa-discrimination.org

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I can agree with your sentiment, skeptic. I don't see anyone on the right trying to use the BSA as a political battleground. This issue is being forced onto the BSA. I for one don't want to see any sort of lifestyle witch hunt. Keep it to yourself and we will all be fine. This is just a very fine line, when special interest groups are pushing the issue so hard.

 

A "don't ask, don't tell" policy is not good enough for the gay rights community. Any I cannot tollerate the normalization of alternatice lifestyles being promoted in my scout troop. So this just sounds like we might just be at an impass.

 

Look at how many have left the Girl Scout program. Accept for cookie sales, they have very little visability. (not trying to offend and GSUSA folks). My sister has been a GS volunteer for over 20 years and have tons of respect for her.

For Packsaddle:

 

The judgment in the Curran case includes notes that the defendant (the BSA) introduced evidence that a policy against admitting homosexuals as leaders existed in an official memorandum written in 1978 by the national leadership of the Boy Scouts of America setting forth -- in question and answer form -- the official position of the Boy Scouts relating to homosexuality and scouting. The document states in relevant part: "Q. May an individual who openly declares himself to be a homosexual be a volunteer Scout leader? A. No. The Boy Scouts of America is a private, membership organization and leadership therein is a privilege and not a right. We do not believe that homosexuality and leadership in Scouting are appropriate. We will continue to select only those who in our judgment meet our standards and qualifications for leadership. [¶] Q. May an individual who openly declares himself to be a homosexual be a registered unit member? A. No. As the Boy Scouts of America is a private, membership organization, participation in the program is a privilege and not a right. We do not feel that membership of such individuals is in the best interests of Scouting."

 

There was an earlier 1983 document cited in the court decision: "The "written policy" to which the trial court referred was apparently a 1983 statement by the Legal Counsel of the Boy Scouts of America that declared: "Avowed or known homosexuals are not permitted to register in the Boy Scouts of America. Membership in the organization is a privilege, not a right, and the Boy Scouts of America has determined that homosexuality and Scouting are not compatible. No units will be chartered to known homosexual groups or individuals."

 

Note 9 states: "A number of witnesses called by plaintiff testified that they had spent years in plaintiff's Boy Scout troop as members or as scoutmasters and never had been informed that homosexual conduct was not "morally straight" or "clean," and that they were unaware this was part of the Boy Scouts' message. Plaintiff also elicited evidence acknowledging that although scouting literature is replete with moral and ethical pronouncements, none of the written material that is distributed to the Boy Scouts themselves (as contrasted with the training handbook provided to scout leaders) speaks specifically to the issue of homosexuality or homosexual conduct. Finally, plaintiff presented written materials, published by the Boy Scouts, indicating that scoutmasters are not expected to instruct scouts in a formal manner on sexual matters or family life -- although the same text noted that scoutmasters should answer questions or provide advice on these topics if requested."

 

Note 8 stated that "At trial, the national Director of Public Relations for the Boy Scouts of America testified that it has been understood clearly since the incorporation of the Boy Scouts early in this century that homosexual conduct is immoral and inconsistent with the scout oath. He and other witnesses testified that the terms "morally straight" and "clean" have been in use in the Scout Oath and Law from the early 1900's when it would have been clearly understood that homosexual conduct was considered immoral (and illegal), and that the words continue to be interpreted by the Boy Scouts of America as rendering homosexual conduct unacceptable today. In addition, several witnesses testified that adult leaders routinely are trained to inform boys that homosexuality is not "morally straight.""

 

In its Curran decision, the California Supreme Court noted the originating court's decision that "The court found in this regard that the values the Boy Scouts seeks to instill are grounded in the Boy Scout Oath and Law, that sexual morality is addressed in the Boy Scout Oath and Law under the rubric of "morally straight" and "clean,"(6) and, finally, that although "[n]ot a great deal is explicitly spelled out in the Scout literature . . . regarding sexuality in general or homosexuality in particular," the evidence introduced at trial demonstrated "that the Boy Scouts of America as an organization has taken a consistent position that homosexuality is immoral and incompatible with the Boy Scout Oath and Law" and that "this is the view that is communicated whenever the issue comes up." In reaching this latter determination, the court relied on various policy statements that had been issued on the subject by the national organization,(7) and on the testimony of numerous national and local Boy Scout leaders who testified to the orgbid."

 

It's more than a little historically inaccurate, and out of historical context, to say that no policy against homosexuality existed in the BSA prior to the 1990s, or that this was somehow created by a conspiratorial "Religious Right," given the feeling of the majority of Americans at that point in time. A review of the psychological and sociology texts and academic research of the time would leave little doubt that homosexual membership in a youth organization would not have been considered acceptable by the majority of adult leaders in the BSA, or the population of the U.S. as a whole. I was in scouting before the 1978 memorandum and I don't think anyone old enough to know what homosexuality, boy or adult, was would have thought that homosexual leadership was appropriate. Those were different times.

 

One can make the argument that policy should change to fit recent changes in the culture, but it would be disingenuous to claim that such policies or perspectives never existed .

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I can agree with your sentiment, skeptic. I don't see anyone on the right trying to use the BSA as a political battleground. This issue is being forced onto the BSA. I for one don't want to see any sort of lifestyle witch hunt. Keep it to yourself and we will all be fine. This is just a very fine line, when special interest groups are pushing the issue so hard.

 

A "don't ask, don't tell" policy is not good enough for the gay rights community. Any I cannot tollerate the normalization of alternatice lifestyles being promoted in my scout troop. So this just sounds like we might just be at an impass.

 

Look at how many have left the Girl Scout program. Accept for cookie sales, they have very little visability. (not trying to offend and GSUSA folks). My sister has been a GS volunteer for over 20 years and have tons of respect for her.

AZMike, I'm aware of those documents. They were not open documents in the sense that applicants were made aware of them. For that matter, as far as I can tell, CO's were also not made aware of them, at least none around here (and around here those documents probably would have been welcomed by some of the CO's back then). My point is not that BSA didn't have such a policy but that it was something kept 'out of sight' and effectively unknown by the membership until Dale caused those policies to become public. As far as I am concerned a membership policy should be stated fully, openly, and completely in a manner that any person applying for membership can be fully aware of it. This wasn't. But I get your point that BSA did have an established, but unpublicized, policy. You too evidently were made aware of them by reading the court document.

 

Edit: Outside these forums, I've still never SEEN these policies in written form. Not at roundtable, not at annual meetings with the SE, not at the council office when I asked to see them. If I applied the same standard to these documents that seems to be popular for birth certificates, they'd fail the test.

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There was one major case involving a would-be assistant scoutmaster who was kicked out in 1980, about 10 years before the Dale case started. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curran_v._Mount_Diablo_Council_of_the_Boy_Scouts_of_America. This was a case out of California. It was decided by the California Supreme Court in 1998, 2 or 3 years before Dale was decided. It WOULD have been the "big case" instead of Dale, if the Cal. Supreme Court had decided that the BSA was violating the state's anti-discrimination statute. They did not, and instead found that the BSA was not a "business" (and maybe not a "public accommodation" either, the article doesn't mention that but I would be surprised if it was never brought up.) That decision effectively made it impossible for the plaintiff to go to the U.S. Supreme Court, because the decisive issue was an issue of state law, not federal law. (That problem did not seem to faze a majority of the U.S. Supreme Court in the case of Bush v. Gore, but that's another discussion.) The reason the Dale case became "the" case is that the New Jersey Supreme Court became the first state highest-court to rule that the BSA was violating a state anti-discrimination statute (based on their decision that the BSA was a "public accommodation.") That allowed the BSA to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court based on their argument that the NJ anti-discrimination statute (as interpreted by the NJ Supreme Court) violated the BSA's First Amendment rights under the U.S. Constitution, and the U.S. Supreme Court bought that argument by a 5-4 vote.

 

None of this really changes the point made by Packsaddle and Rick, with which I totally agree. It just affects the timing a little. I believe that the BSA "started it", when they kicked these guys out.

The similarities to other prejudices that have declined in public is interesting. I remember other clubs and even churches which at one time openly discriminated on the basis of skin color as well as the social upheaval that followed Judge McMillan's ruling on busing. That was the school system that I was in at the time. And now we look back on those times and the people who were militantly opposed to school integration (and those who were white supremacists openly and proudly) now take some solace in pointing the finger at others, claiming they were forced into the fight, as if that justifies the awful hurt they inflicted needlessly on other people.

As Trevorum stated in another thread long ago, the times they are a changing, and the question of who 'started it' is really not relevant. The change is there regardless and I really do understand that some of us want to live in the past and fear the future. Sorry, change is inevitable.

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