Proving that not everyone has jumped on the gay rights bandwagon, the Boy Scouts of America has chosen to openly reaffirm its ban on gay members as well as any gay or lesbian adult leaders the organization announced yesterday in a statement. According to the New York Times, the official policy reads:
“While the B.S.A. 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 B.S.A.”
It may not seem like it, but the decision came after much thought. In 2010, the Boy Scouts formed a committee of 11 “volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate whether the policy was in the best interests of the organization,” a statement from the group read. The committee reportedly “included a diversity of perspectives” and engaged in “extensive research and evaluations,” to see where they should stand on this issue and in the end they came to the conclusion that nothing needed to change.
According to a news release from its headquarters in Irving, TX, the exclusionary policy “reflects the beliefs and perspectives” of the private organization. Bob Mazzuca, the chief Scout executive, followed that sentiment with this comment:
‘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. 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.”
But did they even try? My main issue with their policy is that I think it reaffirms beliefs that all homosexual men—and even boys— are predators lacking any type of discretion when it comes to their attraction to the same sex. I’m inclined to believe the Boy Scouts of America views this policy almost as a safety measure to prevent a Catholic Church molestation-like situation among members and leaders because a child’s sexual orientation—or their scout leader’s or den mother’s—should never come up in the process of camping, earning badges, and reciting pledges.
As a private organization, BSA can certainly implement any sort of policy it wants legally, but the question is, is this one fair? What do you think?
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