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Boy Scouts propose motion to allow gay scouts, maintain adult ban

Ben Johnson
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GRAPEVINE, TX, April 19, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Boy Scouts of America will propose a measure to allow openly gay members to join the Scouts for the first time in its century-long history, despite the fact that a survey found almost two-thirds of stakeholders support the current policy, the organization announced on Friday. 

The resolution would allow homosexual scouts to join, but ban adult homosexuals from being scoutmasters.

“No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone,” the proposal states.

The Scouts board has decided to allow 1,400 members to vote on May 20 on the measure after declining to take a position in February.

The BSA released a statement saying it had received 200,000 responses to its questionaire on the policy. In a summary of its findings, it found, “Respondents support the current policy by a 61 percent to 34 percent margin.”

Fully “72 percent of chartered organizations support” the current policy they announced.

Critics on both sides of the issue have said they find the policy incomprehensible, considering the fact that Scouting is based on moving upward in leadership, finally from Eagle Scout to Scoutmaster. 

“The proposal says, in essence, that homosexuality is morally acceptable until a boy turns 18 - then, when he comes of age, he's removed from the Scouts,” said Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “The policy is incoherent and, sadly, an affront to the notion that Scouts are brave, reverent, and 'morally straight.'”

He added that it “requires all Scouting families and faith-based organizations that object to homosexuality on religious grounds to affirm its moral validity.”

The summary of findings said a policy change would cost the Scouts a minimum of 100,000 to 350,000 members. “It is believed any gain in membership because of a change to the membership policy related to youth and adults would be in the range of 10,000 to 20,000 youth,” it states.

In addition to most councils strongly supporting the current policy of total exclusion, 51 percent of current major donors to councils support the current policy.

However, the survey found, “A majority of the Fortune 500 companies support a change in our current policy.”

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“A majority of current and former corporations that currently have or had sponsorship-type relationships with the BSA do not support the current policy,” it added.

The text of the resolution states, “the Scout Oath begins with duty to God and the Scout Law ends with a Scout's obligation to be reverent, and that will always remain a core value of the Boy Scouts of America.”

“Any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” it continues. But “the Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization, nor may any member use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda.”

The national meeting will take place on May 20.

The Family Research Council will host a nationwide simulcast event, "Stand with Scouts Sunday," at 7 p.m. May 5.

TFP Student Action is holding a petition drive to encourage the Scouts to maintain their current policy. Those interested may sign the petition here.

The full proposed Boy Scouts resolution reads:

WHEREAS, it is the mission of the Boy Scouts of America to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law:

Scout Oath

 

Scout Law

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
And to obey the Scout Law;
To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong,
Mentally awake, and morally straight.

 

A Scout is:
Trustworthy
Loyal
Helpful
Friendly
Courteous
Kind


Obedient
Cheerful
Thrifty
Brave
Clean
Reverent

AND WHEREAS, duty to God, duty to country, duty to others, and duty to oneself are each a core value and immutable tenet of the Boy Scouts of America; and

WHEREAS, the Scout Oath begins with duty to God and the Scout Law ends with a Scout's obligation to be reverent, and that will always remain a core value of the Boy Scouts of America, and the values set forth in the Scout Oath and Law are fundamental to the BSA and central to teaching young people to make better choices over their lifetimes; and

WHEREAS, the vision of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare every eligible youth in America to become a responsible, participating citizen and leader who is guided by the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and

WHEREAS, for more than 103 years, programs of the Boy Scouts of America have been delivered to youth members through cooperation with chartered organizations that select adult leaders who meet the organization's standards as well as the leadership standards of the Boy Scouts of America; and

WHEREAS, numerous independent experts have recognized that the programs protecting Scouts today, which include effective screening, education and training, and clear policies to protect youth and provide for their privacy, are among the best in the youth-serving community; and

WHEREAS, the current adult leadership standard of the Boy Scouts of America states:

The applicant must possess the moral, educational, and emotional qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive leadership to youth. The applicant must also be the correct age, subscribe to the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and abide by the Scout Oath and the Scout Law.
While the BSA does not proactively inquire about 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.

AND WHEREAS, Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting; and

WHEREAS, the Boy Scouts of America does not have an agenda on the matter of sexual orientation, and resolving this complex issue is not the role of the organization, nor may any member use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda; and

WHEREAS, youth are still developing, learning about themselves and who they are, developing their sense of right and wrong, and understanding their duty to God to live a moral life; and

WHEREAS, America needs Scouting, and the organization's policies must be based on what is in the best interest of its young people, and the organization will work to stay focused on that which unites us, and

WHEREAS, the Boy Scouts of America will maintain the current membership policy for all adult leaders of the Boy Scouts of America, and

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED THAT:

The following membership standard for youth members of the Boy Scouts of America is hereby adopted and approved, effective Jan. 1, 2014:

Youth membership in the Boy Scouts of America is open to all youth who meet the specific membership requirements to join the Cub Scout, Boy Scout, Varsity Scout, Sea Scout, and Venturing programs. Membership in any program of the Boy Scouts of America requires the youth member to (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and (c) demonstrate behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and is consistent at all times with the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law. No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.

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