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Sad: Boy Scouts Reaffirms Bigoted Anti-Gay Ban

 
 
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This is beyond too bad. One might have thought that the swelling current of acceptance and change around sexuality which is sweeping up everyone from the music community to national political figures would would dislodge the stubborn rock of the Boy Scouts' institutionalized homophobia.

But apparently that rock isn't ready to be moved, and it may not be in the near future. The AP's David Crary reports:

After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by some critics.

An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, "came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts," the organization' national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.

Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.

As a result of the committee's decision, the Scouts' national executive board will take no further action on a recently submitted resolution asking for reconsideration of the membership policy.

This disappointing result is going to result in renewed pressure on LGBT-friendly executives who sit on the Boy Scouts' board:

The announcement suggests that hurdles may be high for a couple of members of the national executive board — Ernst & Young CEO James Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson — who have recently indicated they would try to work from within to change the policy. Both of their companies have been commended by gay-rights groups for gay-friendly employment policies.

Stephenson is on track to become president of the Scouts' national board in 2014, and will likely face continued pressure from gay-rights groups to try to end the exclusion policy.

There's already been enormous protest from the grassroots as well:

...Since 2000, the Boy Scouts have been targeted with numerous protest campaigns and run afoul of some local nondiscrimination laws because of the membership policy.

One ongoing protest campaign involves Jennifer Tyrrell, the Ohio mother of a 7-year-old Cub Scout who was ousted as a Scout den mother because she is lesbian.

Change.org, an online forum supporting activist causes, says more than 300,000 people have signed its petition urging the Scouts to reinstate Tyrrell and abandon the exclusion policy. The petition is to be delivered to the Scouts' national headquarters in Irving, Texas, on Wednesday.

If the intransigence of executives continues, my hope is that wonderful scouting organizations for young kids that are inclusive spring up at a rapid rate and give the Boy Scouts a run for their money.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at July 17, 2012, 5:32am

 
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