Posted: May 24, 2013 1:50 PM
 
The Boy Scouts of America has lifted their long-standing ban on allowing gay members. That's one (very) small step. As long as the Boy Scouts still ban gay leaders, the organization remains one that openly discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation and it's one my sons are not allowed to be part of.

No Boy Scouts live in my house

My boys never expressed interest in becoming Boy Scouts, and that's great since I could never in good conscience let them join any organization that discriminates against anyone. I'm sure other organizations and businesses discriminate against gay, lesbian, transgender and questioning people — it just hasn't made national news yet. The Boy Scouts of America discriminated against gay youth for years and were open about it. They still discriminate against gay leaders, and there's no telling when that will change.

I can't imagine what it's like to feel so passionately about all facets of an organization that you choose to work there even if it means hiding a significant part of your life.

I was touched by a recent CNN article written by an anonymous gay Boy Scout leader who grapples with his commitment to scouting with the fact he must hide in the closet in order to keep his job. I can't imagine what it's like to feel so passionately about all facets of an organization that you choose to work there even if it means hiding a significant part of your life.

Parents, what are you afraid of?

I don't understand what parents are afraid of if the Boy Scouts lift the ban on gay leaders. For all they know, their son's Boy Scout leader is gay, and he's just not open about it because he can't be. What about teachers, clergy and babysitters? If you found out they were gay, would you pull your son from class, church/temple or find a new sitter?

My sons are around gay and lesbian adults on a near daily basis.

The Boy Scouts of America website states:

Scouting helps youth develop academic skills, self-confidence, ethics, leadership skills, and citizenship skills that influence their adult lives.

Well, my sons learn all of these things from me, my husband and our families. They also learn these values from the many other loving adults who are part of their lives in our neighborhood, at their schools and our synagogue — and just happen to be gay and lesbian.

My husband was a Cub Scout back in the day. He interprets the above statement like this (bold quotes his):

Scouting helps youth develop academic skills, self-confidence (for some, for others we take it away), ethics (just the ones we agree with), leadership skills (as long as you only want to lead certain people), and citizenship skills that influence their adult lives (unless you plan to interact with gay people at any point in that adult life.)

Banning gay Boy Scout leaders hurts scouts, too

If anything, the ban on gay leaders will ultimately hurt the Boy Scouts organization.

He's spent his life being part of the Boy Scouts, and the organization knew he was gay and was OK with it, but he can't be a leader because gays need not apply.

Imagine this: Your gay son works hard and meets all of the criteria to become an Eagle Scout. Eventually, he wants to continue his commitment to scouting and mentoring the next generation by becoming a Boy Scout leader. Nope. Sorry — he's spent his life being part of the Boy Scouts, and the organization knew he was gay and was OK with it, but he can't be a leader because gays need not apply. That's a lose-lose situation for everyone — not just the aspiring Boy Scout leader but also the many Scouts who could learn from him.

The flip side^Hear from a mom who feels the opposite - if the Boy Scouts eventually allow gay leaders, her family will have nothing to do with the organization. Read I'll still let my boys be Scouts... for now.

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