A spokesperson for Washington Republican gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna said this week that the candidate, who is the state attorney general and an Eagle Scout, disagrees with the Boy Scouts' recent decision to maintan its ban on gay scouts and LGBT leaders. McKenna, who currently serves on the Chief Seattle Council of the Boy Scouts of America, has discussed with some Boy Scout volunteers in the state how "at least locally, the leaders out here could encourage the national organization to reconsider the national policy."
Given his belief that LGBT people should not be discriminated against in the Boy Scouts, it makes us wonder why he opposes Washington's marriage equality law and wants to deny same-sex couples the opportunity to marry. McKenna's Democratic opponent, former U.S. Rep. and marriage equality supporter Jay Inslee, also said he was disappointed in the Boy Scouts:
"Our state and our country has moved ahead rapidly with eliminating discrimination. We've done it in the military, we've done it in education, and we ought to be able to do that in the Scouts, as well. So I'm hopeful this will be revisited as soon as possible."
McKenna and Inslee join the growing list of Americans that have spoken out against the anti-gay policy. Even Republican presidential candidate Gov. Mitt Romney (R-Mass.) at one point announced his support for removing the ban.
Cathy Tisdale, the president of Camp Fire USA, also spoke out about how inclusion has strengthened the organization.
Following a secret committee's decision earlier this week to keep the Boy Scouts' ban on gay scouts and scout leaders, Eagle Scout Zach Wahls has launched a Change.org petition urging the Boy Scouts to allow its board members to vote to end the ban. In an op-ed in The Advocate, Zach writes,
Secret committees of 11 people do not and will not speak for more than 3 million scouts. Though the old guard at the BSA may be unwilling to change their position, we suspect that the young people actually involved with the organization all across the country will prove more thoughtful.
Zach's petition began the same week that GLAAD and Ohio mom Jennifer Tyrrell delivered more than 300,000 petition signatures to the Boy Scouts’ headquarters calling for the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay scouts and LGBT leaders. Zach was among those who signed the petition.
News broke Friday that Martin Cizmar, the arts and culture editor of Portland Oregon's Williamette Weekly, returned his Eagle Scout badge to the Boy Scouts this week in protest of the group's anti-gay policies. Cizmar wrote in a letter to the BSA,
I am not gay. However, I cannot in good conscious hold this badge as long as the BSA continues a policy of bigotry. Though I didn't know at the time, I was acquainted with a number fo gay scouts and scouters. They were all great men, loyal to the scout oath and motto
and helpful to the movement. There is no fair reason they should not be allowed to participate in scouting.
GLAAD, Zach, Martin and so many Eagle Scouts are keeping the pressure on the Boy Scouts of America to end their ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. We urge you to stand with the thousand of Americans by signing Zach's petition at http://change.org/scoutsvote and Jennifer's petition at http://change.org/scouts