Plymouth, Mich. (CNSNews.com) - In yet another brushfire over the Boy Scouts and homosexuality, a teacher's union opposed to the Scouts discrimination policies caused a stir in a southeast Michigan community last week when it told the school board it opposed the scout's use of school facilities.
With parents and teachers on both sides of the issue packing the Plymouth-Canton School District board meeting last Tuesday, the head of the 950-member teachers union submitted a motion stating the union's opposition to the district allowing the Scouts to use its facilities.
The motion read: "The Plymouth-Canton Education Association opposes the use of Plymouth-Canton Community Schools buildings by the Boy Scouts of America and any other organization that sanctions discrimination for the purposes of recruiting and meeting."
Specifically, the union asked the board to review its anti-discrimination policy, which the union feels has a clause that should ban the Boy Scouts.
"I believed their policy was in direct conflict with the Boy Scouts of America's national policy," said Chuck Portelli, president of the Plymouth-Canton Education Association.
The board took no formal action on the union's motion, which Portelli said he did not ask the board to do.
"The school board said that they would continue to use the district's use-of-facilities policy; their use-of- facilities policy is all inclusive," said Judy Evola, director of communications for the district. "It allows for all community groups to have equal access and equal usage opportunities for all 22 Plymouth-Canton Community schools."
The union isn't planning any other action against the district board at this time, said Portelli.
There are 44 Boy Scouts troops in the Plymouth-Canton district. Dave Corliss, a Scout leader who attended the meeting, said many more parents spoke out against the measure. He said a common theme that night was the issue of reverse discrimination by the union.
"They are asking for the right to discriminate against the Boy Scouts," said Corliss, who added that an Ann Arbor attorney condemned the union's move as reverse discrimination.
But the leader of Scouting For All, California-based organization that is pushing the BSA to rescind its policy on gays and atheists, said the union's move is about human rights.
"There's a big difference between a teachers union excluding a discriminatory organization and the stand of that they're standing against - the bigotry of another organization. One's a stand for human rights and one's a stand for exclusion," said Scott Cozza, organization president.
School districts and United Way councils across the country have been waging similar campaigns against the scouts. In Allegan County in Michigan, the local United Way this summer cut funding to the local scouts because they did not endorse the United Ways anti-discrimination clause regarding sexual orientation.
"What we are seeing across the country is the liberal education groups and some of the schools welcoming in the homosexual student groups, even as they try to kick out the Boy Scouts," said Peter LaBarbera, director of the Americans For Truth Project, a Washington watchdog group on the gay movement. "They are allowing the homosexual groups to form in the schools and all the behavior that's encourage by that, while they kick out one of the most noble institutions America has ever had that has helped boys for decades."
"Time and again these groups have shown that they are pro homosexual despite all the risks, even if you just looked at the health risks of homosexuality," said LaBarbera. "They promote homosexuality despite the risks and then they turn around and say boy, the Boy Scouts is a discriminatory organization and it's not good for kids."