Thursday, May 23, 2013

Boy Scouts to Vote on Gay Scouts Today

The Boy Scouts of America's leadership will vote today on whether or not to allow openly gay youth to be members.  Even if this proposal passes, it seems likely that once one reaches the age of majority, one will be kicked to the curb as if somehow one magically turns into a pedophile upon turning 18.  It goes without saying that Christofascist organizations and the ever familiar anti-gay hate groups are pulling out the stops on their lobbying the Boy Scouts' leadership to maintain anti-gay discrimination across the spectrum.  I ceased giving any financial support to scouting some years ago and when I do see scouts fundraising, I make a point of telling the adult supervisors that I'd like to make a donation but cannot do so because of the organization's bigoted policy.  A piece in the Virginian Pilot looks at the coming vote today.  Here are highlights:

The Boy Scouts of America's national leadership will vote Thursday whether to allow openly gay Scouts in its ranks, a critical and emotionally charged moment for one of the nation's oldest youth organizations and its millions of members.

About 1,400 voting members of BSA's national council are to cast ballots Thursday on a resolution that would end a policy that allows youth Scouts to be excluded based only on sexual orientation. The ban on gay adult leaders would remain in place.

While the meeting was closed to the public, it was closely watched by supporters and opponents of a change. Both sides on Wednesday made a final effort to explain their positions. Gay-rights supporters and others who want the policy changed held a summit at a nearby resort, while opponents held signs on the street next to the entrance and a rally nearby.
The results are expected to be announced shortly after 5 p.m. CDT Thursday.

BSA has faced mounting pressure over its exclusion policy as public opinion toward gays and gay marriage continues to evolve. Obama called on the Scouts to reverse the ban before a national executive board meeting in February, and two high-profile board members - the CEOs of AT&T and Ernst & Young - said they would work from within to change the policy.

The national executive board decided instead to leave the final decision to a vote of the national council, and BSA launched a listening tour of surveys and focus groups. BSA President Wayne Perry called on voters to approve the resolution overturning the ban, in an opinion piece for USA Today published online Wednesday.

Of the more than 100,000 Scouting units in the U.S., 70 percent are chartered by religious institutions. While these sponsors include liberal churches opposed to any ban on gays, some of the largest sponsors are relatively conservative denominations that have previously supported the broad ban - notably the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and Southern Baptist churches.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced in April that it supports the new proposal. Leaders of some smaller, conservative denominations have opposed it.

"Ultimately we can't anticipate how people will vote but we do know that the result will not match everyone's personal preference," said Deron Smith, BSA's national spokesman.

As long as any kind of gay ban remains, the Boy Scouts will not see a penny from me.

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