Apparently intimidated by religious extremists within their ranks, the Boy Scouts of America elected to kick the can down the road, deciding that they needed more time before they scrap their discriminatory policy that unfairly targets and cruelly humiliates gay scouts. Here is their cowardly statement:
For 103 years, the Boy Scouts of America has been a part of the fabric of this nation, providing it’s youth program of character development and values-based leadership training. In the past two weeks, Scouting has received an outpouring of feedback from the American public. It reinforces how deeply people care about Scouting and how passionate they are about the organization.
After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy.
To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns. This will assist the officers’ work on a resolution on membership standards. The approximately 1,400 voting members of the national council will take action on the resolution at the national meeting in May 2013.
Exactly what do they have to study? We all know that there are gay scouts who perform honorably, yet are immorally asked to habitually lie in order to appease the fragile sensibilities of fundamentalists who oppose the 21st Century. Here is the Human Rights Campaign’s take:
“Every day that the Boy Scouts of America delay action is another day that discrimination prevails,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Now is the time for action. Young Americans, gay and straight, are hurt by the inaction associated with today’s news. The BSA leadership should end this awful policy once and for all, and open the proud tradition of Scouting to all.”
Here is the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation’s take:
“An organization that serves youth and chooses to intentionally hurt dedicated young people and hardworking parents not only flies in the face of American principles, but the principles of being a Boy Scout,” said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick. “The Boy Scouts of America is choosing to ignore the cries of millions, including religious institutions, current scouting families, and corporate sponsors, but these cries will not be silenced. We’re living in a culture where hurting young gay people because of who they are is unpopular and discriminatory. They had the chance to end the pain this ban has caused to young people and parents, they chose to extend the pain.”
This disgrace that has tarnished the BSA continues as they bow to bigotry, at least in the short term. However, they should know that tomorrow will not be any kinder towards this antiquated policy than today. Each day, more Americans come to support equality and speak out in favor of their LGBT friends and family members. The BSA’s exclusionary policies run counter to most Americans’ standards of fairness and decency. The sooner the BSA joins the 21st Century, the better it will be for this organization’s future.