Thursday, February 7, 2013

'A Scout Is Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, Friendly, Courteous, Kind, Obedient, Cheerful, Thrifty, Brave, Clean, and Reverent' -- and Still Straight

In case you haven't heard, Boy Scouts of America has re-made its decision about gay members: For now the decision is that there is no decision. See my post from February 4 about the anticipated board decision today that wasn't.

Postponing a difficult vote probably isn't good for BSA.  It allows the controversy to carry on and put down deeper divisive roots.

"The Boy Scouts touched off fierce lobbying by groups both for and against changing the policy when it said on January 28 that it was considering removing a national restriction based on sexual orientation and leaving the decision to local chapters."  (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/07/us-usa-boyscouts-gays-idUSBRE9150HE20130207)

BSA offered this reasoning for the delay:

"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 National 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 Annual Meeting in May 2013."   (http://www.scouting.org/executiveboarddecision.aspx)

That will be one ugly annual meeting. Both sides have weighed in and now have three more months to up the pressure.

"A coalition of 33 faith-based councils that represent about one-fifth of all youth members in the Boy Scouts had asked the board to delay the vote. Reaction to the delay was swift. 'This is no doubt a major victory for moral values, but it is a temporary one," said Jonathan Saenz, president of Texas Values, a group that organized a vigil supporting the ban on Wednesday and the parent of a Scout."  (http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/07/us-usa-boyscouts-gays-idUSBRE9150HE20130207)

And in this corner.... "'A scout is supposed to be brave, and the Boy Scouts failed to be brave today,' Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian from Ohio who was forced out as a den leader, said in a statement. 'The Boy Scouts had the chance to help countless young people and devoted parents, but they've failed us yet again.'

"Tyrrell and other activists delivered more than 1.4 million signatures to the Boy Scouts on Monday on petitions seeking an end to the policy."

I think any decision would have eased the crisis better than this and been less divisive for the organization nationwide.

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