Boy Scouts of America reaffirms ban on gay members and leaders
The Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed on Tuesday (July 17) that the organization would continue to ban gay members and leaders. The announcement comes after a two-year review by an 11-person committee, despite mounting criticism and protest campaigns by gay rights activists.
“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,” Bob Mazzuca, chief scout executive of Boy Scouts of America, stated in a news 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.”
The Boy Scouts’ policy on banning gay members first gained attention in 2000 when a U.S. Supreme Court ruling sided with the organization in a lawsuit involving a gay assistant Scoutmaster who was ousted from his position. In 2010, Jennifer Tyrrell, whose son was a boy scout, was forced out of her position as a Tiger Cubs den leader when Boy Scouts discovered that she was a lesbian. An online petition has collected more than 300,000 signatures urging Boys Scouts to reinstate Tyrell’s position.
According to the news release, Boy Scouts of America has no plans to further review its policy on this issue. Comparatively, Scouts Canada has stated openly that it does not discriminate against members or leaders based on sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the organization’s Policies and Procedures, “Scouts Canada is committed to social justice including the promotion of gender and member diversity at all levels of the organization, both in its structures and programs and to the elimination of discrimination on the groups of race, gender, ethnicity, financial ability, sexual orientation, religion, disability or age."
You can follow Michelle da Silva on Twitter at twitter.com/michdas.