|Boy Scouts of America Logo|
In announcing the decision, Boy Scouts chief executive Bob Mazzuca said, "The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting."
The ban was previously challenged and upheld more than a decade ago in a Supreme Court case, wherein a gay scoutmaster had been fired from the organization because of his sexual orientation.
In its June 2000 decision, the Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America, as a private organization which exists in part to express a particular message, has a constitutional right to freedom of association. This freedom allows the organization to exclude members when "the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints."
The most unfortunate aspect of the BSA's affirmation of its anti-gay policy is that this American "institution" is sending a message to innocent gay kids that says - you are different, you are wrong, you are less.
The Scouts have a legal right to say those things, and happily, the rest of us have rights too...and responsibilities.
- It's up to each of us to teach our kids to be tolerant and open-minded.
- It's up to each of us to vigorously challenge notions of bias and hate.
- And most importantly, it's up to each of us to make sure the gay kids in our families and neighborhoods hear messages of love and acceptance.
The Boy Scouts of America has made its negative and hateful position known. We must each send our positive message of support for gay and lesbian kids even louder and more clearly.