Post submitted by Paul Guequierre, HRC Deputy Communications Director
In the face of mounting national opposition to institutional discrimination, the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America is debating a policy which would end its nationwide ban on gay Scouts and Scout leaders. However, this policy would replace the ban with a system in which sponsoring organizations can decide to institute their own bans on gay Scouts and troop leaders.
HRC President Chad Griffin made the following statement:
“The policy proposed will not result in the full inclusion of gay Scouts or gay Scout leaders across the country. While it is good news that the onerous national ban will come to an end, it’s not acceptable to abdicate nondiscrimination standards to local units. It’s akin to a national restaurant chain saying that it will not discriminate at its corporate headquarters, but allow local restaurants to discriminate at will.
Make no mistake, this policy creates a separate but equal system where some troops welcome all members and others still turn gay Scouts away. This problem will only be solved when BSA proactively institutes a national nondiscrimination policy that prohibits anti-gay discrimination so that no young American or family is excluded from the proud tradition of Scouting.”
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation today announced more stringent criterion for the Corporate Equality Index (CEI). To receive a perfect score, companies would have to prohibit philanthropic giving to non-religious organizations that have a written policy of anti-gay discrimination, or permit its chapters, affiliates, or troops to do so.
HRC’s recent survey of LGBT youth reinforces the need to remove obstacles to full participation in extracurricular activities: 64% of LGBT teens (compared to just 47% of non-LGBT teens) report that they never participate in afterschool or other recreational activities. Exclusion from Scouting negatively impacts the overall well-being and sense of community connection among LGBT youth.