Post submitted by Paul Guequierre, HRC Deputy Communications Director
With the discriminatory ban on gay Scouts up for a vote by leaders of the Boy Scouts of America next month, over 40,000 people have signed HRC’s petition calling on their local Boy Scouts of America council to vote in favor of a national policy prohibiting discrimination against gay Scouts and Scout Leaders. Of those 40,000 people, 14,000 are Boy Scouts or in a Scouting family and 1,600 are Eagle Scouts.
“Tens of thousands of Americans have spoken up to declare that the Boy Scouts of America have a moral duty to be inclusive,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Americans of all stripes are urging the BSA to seize this moment to live up to its own creed.”
Last week, the BSA Executive Committee sent a resolution to representatives from the organization’s nearly 300 local councils which would establish a non-discrimination policy ending the longstanding ban on gay Scouts, while keeping discriminatory practices in place for gay and lesbian parents, Scout leaders, and in employment. 1,400 members of the local councils will vote on the resolution at the annual meeting the week of May 20.
This week, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) sent a letter to the Boy Scouts of America calling on leadership to end the ban. The letter said in part, “[W]e call on you to end the ban for the betterment of all young men. We urge you to recognize the importance of Scouts for all boys and the critical need for volunteer leaders, and end discrimination towards adult leaders based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” For more than a decade, the American Medical Association has called the ban on gay Scouts potentially psychologically traumatizing.
HRC’s recent survey of LGBT youth reinforces the need to remove obstacles to full participation in extracurricular activities like the Boy Scouts: 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.
Sign HRC’s petition at: www.hrc.org/BSA.