They reiterated that gays are not allowed on 12th July, calling the exclusion "absolutely the best policy". Scouts Spokesman Derek Smith stated it clearly:
"While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.
Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics.
The BSA is a voluntary, private organization that sets policies that are best for the organization. The BSA welcomes all who share its beliefs but does not criticize or condemn those who wish to follow a different path."So it's not okay to be gay in the Scouts, but it is still okay for you to be a child molester. Hell, the latest case was last week. And yea, like Catholic Church and Penn State before them, they thought hiding it was a good idea. Oh, shenanigans...you will destroy children's lives...
So imagine my surprise when I posted the story on my Facebook wall, and some people actually defended their policy. For the ones that were respectful (most of them), I read and responded. I'm just responding here, because a lot of ideas were going around, and I figured an essay would be better than an endless stream of comments...also, it's my blog, and I can do what I want to. :-p
The crux of most dissenting opinions from mine is that the Scouts is to cultivate manhood and leadership in young boys and men, ages 11 to 18, and it is also the time when most go through puberty, a VERY tumultuous time for any kid. One who realises he's gay may not know what to do with his feelings will be a distraction, possibly acting on those burgeoning emotions. To protect the kids, they exclude. the other argument is that scout leaders need to promote manhood in the Scouts, and how can they do that if they're not exemplifying manhood themselves? That second argument was actually one I saw on NPR, but it should be addressed regardless.
I respectfully call BS on these idea, as ALL kids go through puberty, some will be gay, and it will be awkward for everyone. a gay kid in Scouts may have desire, but it is up to the Scout leaders to supervise the kids to make sure they don't get out of line. Furthermore, manhood is not measured by heterosexuality. It is measured by how well a male takes care of his responsibilities and takes care of those in his charge, no matter who they are. Also if there IS a scout who realises he's gay, seeing someone in a leadership position who may be like him may just help him through a difficult time. To my understanding, coming out is very difficult, especially in the awkward teen years. For the straight kids, seeing a gay mentor may show them that gay people are just that: people. There is nothing wrong with it, and perhaps they'll be more accepting of different people.
So, in conclusion: f*** the Boy Scouts. Their policy is nothing but harmful. When you have an exclusionary policy, the only thing is does is cause fear and disdain for whomever is excluded. I understand that it IS a private organisation, but it still gets public grants and free reign of public parks. Let them have their policy, but if they wish to have an exclusionary policy, then they should be excluded from public assets. Plain and simple.