The latest attempt by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to relax its anti-gay policies has been slammed for its continued barring of gay and lesbian adults from the organisation.
Last week, the BSA Executive Committee proposed a resolution that would change its longstanding discriminatory ban on gay scouts.
Under the suggested new policy, “no youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone”.
However, the BSA would continue to not allow gay and lesbian parents and Scout leaders in the organisation.
The proposed change in policy also does not address its continued discrimination in not employing gays and lesbians.
The resolution replaces a previous proposal that would allow the local religious or civic sponsors of each chapter or unit to make their own policy on the issue of gays and lesbians in the organisation.
The latest proposal will face a vote by 1,400 leaders of the BSA during its National Council Meeting next month.
“It is good news that BSA leadership is open to ending the ban on gay scouts, but this resolution must go further,” commented Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin.
“Parents and adults of good moral character, regardless of sexual orientation, should be able to volunteer their time to mentor the next generation of Americans. What message does this resolution send to the gay Eagle scout who, as an adult, wants to continue a lifetime of scouting by becoming a troop leader?” he asked.
“I am appalled at the Boys Scouts’ announcement,” said Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted as leader of her son’s Cub Scouts pack in April 2012 because she’s gay.
“The fact that they are still telling children their parents aren’t good enough is heartbreaking to me. How many times do families like mine have to be rejected by this organisation? In a time, when we as a country need to stand up and show solidarity, compassion, and love for all, the BSA is continuing to divide the country with their discriminatory policy.”
Gay dad and former Scoutmaster Greg Bourke, added: “I can’t even begin to explain how much it hurt when I read the proposed resolution and realised that the Boy Scouts were still telling me and my family that we’re not welcome. After dedicating more than five years to my son’s Boy Scout troop and earning the love and respect of my community, how can the Boy Scouts honestly say that I’m not worthy to lead?”
Rich Ferraro, Vice President of Communications at the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) said that “By refusing to consider an end to its ban on gay and lesbian parents, the Boy Scouts have missed an opportunity to exercise leadership and usher the organisation back to relevancy.
“We’re living in a culture where, until every young person and parent have the same opportunity to serve, the Boy Scouts will continue to see a decline in both membership and donations.”
A December 2012 USA Today/Gallup poll found that 53% of Americans oppose gay adults serving as Boy Scout leaders.