The Boy Scouts of America, a private youth organization dedicated to helping boys develop character, leadership skills and self-reliance, is again in the national spotlight for upholding their previous ban on allowing gay members or leaders. This is not the first time they have been in the limelight — most recently, in April of this year, a den mother was ousted because she is a lesbian, and gay parenting is a controversy in and of itself, as the recent JCPenney ads revealed.
The official policy is don’t ask, don’t tell. It reads, “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
“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,” said Bob Mazzuca, chief Scout executive, Boy Scouts of America, according to BSA’s press release. “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
Some folks we spoke with felt that BSA has the authority to dictate exclusions such as these. “I don't see a reason to ban openly gay people in the Boy Scouts, but as a private organization I do believe they have the right to ban anyone for any reason they see fit, no matter how stupid I deem that reason to be,” shared John from Missouri.
Many people, including former presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, feel that the Boy Scouts are in the right because it will help protect our children from abuse. However, being gay does not mean that someone is a pedophile. “The problem I'm having is the amount of people I keep hearing and reading who equate homosexuality with pedophilia,” explained Dani, mom of one. “And I think that is a very, very sad and grave mistake.”
Others were disappointed in the policy being upheld and questioned why it was an issue in the first place. “For straight kids and parents they're saying, ‘There is something wrong with gay people, something about them as people that is so wrong that we cannot have them in our organization because…’ Why? It endangers someone?” asked Jen from Canada.
Skye, mother of five, has this message for parents who may feel that their local chapter doesn’t agree with this policy. “I really hope that this is a wake-up call to all of the people who think that it isn't really that bad, or otherwise believed that their family's support and involvement in this organization is anything less than full support of institutionalized homophobia.”
And you'll see personalized content just for you whenever you click the My Feed .
SheKnows is making some changes!