Boy Scouts Not Changing Membership Policy That Bans Openly Gay Scouts and Scout Leaders

June 7, 2012 - 9:25 PM

boy scouts

Boy Scouts members. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) -- The Boy Scouts of America will not reconsider its policy banning openly gay boy scouts and scout leaders from participating in the organization despite a recent online petition, signed by 275,000 people, calling for a change in policy and a resolution calling for local Boy Scout chapters to decide their own membership policies.

“Contrary to media reports, the Boy Scouts of America has no plans to change its membership policy. The introduction of a resolution does not indicate the organization is ‘reviewing’ a policy or signal a change in direction,” according to an official statement from the Boy Scouts of America national office.

“The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization,” reads the statement.  “The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path.”

The resolution cited was submitted in April to the national office by a member of the BSA voting board, asking the Boy Scouts of America to allow local chapters to determine their own membership policies.

According to the bylaws of the BSA, any resolution, regardless of subject matter, must be reviewed by committee.  The national office’s statement, however, makes clear that the BSA is not changing its policy regarding openly gay scouts and scout leaders.

On a related note, in April, Jennifer Tyrrell was removed from her post as den leader of an Ohio Cub Scout troop because she is an openly active lesbian.

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Zach Wahls, Eagle Scout. (AP Photo)

Following her removal, Tyrrell started a petition for reinstatement with the scouts on Change.org where it gained the support of Hollywood celebrities, such as ‘Hunger Games’ actor Josh Hutcherson and actress Julianne Moore.

Also, last week, Eagle Scout Zach Wahls from Iowa, who was raised by two lesbians, delivered the petition with 275,000 signatures to the national annual meeting of the Boy Scouts of America.

As a courtesy to Wahls and Tyrrell, the Boy Scouts of America accepted the petition in a private meeting. The BSA maintains that the resolution introduced in April and the petition are not related in any way.

Peter LaBarbera, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality gave his “kudos to the Boy Scouts for not buckling” to the demands of homosexual activists, and said the Change.org petition is another example of the “aggressive” nature of activists to implement their pro-homosexual agenda.

“I wish they would just leave the Scouts alone,” LaBarbera told CNSNews.com.  “They [homosexual activists] have all the freedom in the world to form the pro-gay Scouts, or the Gay Scouts.”

“I’m glad they’re [BSA] not considering capitulating to the homosexual activists’ demands,” he said. “But if they ever did consider it or if they ever moved in that direction, it would be an utter travesty.”

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Boy Scouts. (AP Photo)

This is not the first time the Boy Scouts of America has been challenged on its membership policy. In June 2008, the Supreme Court ruled in the Scouts’ favor protecting BSA’s constitutional right to exclude members based on sexual orientation.

In the majority opinion, the late Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist wrote that freedom of association guaranteed in the First Amendment meant that the state could not compel the Scouts to admit members who strayed from the organizations’ “expressive message.”

The current BSA policy on sexual orientation reads as follows:

“While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to members who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”