Advocates on both sides of the issue have stepped up their campaigns ahead of the final decision: They’ve encouraged their backers to make their voices heard through a phone-in and email deluge, and Scout leaders ousted because they were gay will deliver petitions with more than one million signatures to Boy Scouts headquarters on Monday.
Kara Asmus, field director with the Boy Scouts, believes the rule barring gay members doesn’t enhance the organization’s ability to fulfill their mission because sexual orientation isn’t something the group deals with directly.
A proposal that would allow local Boy Scout troops to decide whether to accept gay Scouts and leaders could mean that Scouting will one day reflect the pockets of acceptance and bulwarks of resistance to gay rights seen nationwide.
About 20 years ago when Curtis Filer's son was 15, he quit the Boy Scouts knowing as a gay teen, he did not fit in. The reason he did not feel right? The Boy Scouts of America excludes gay men from being leaders, and gay youth from being members of its organization.
The Boy Scouts have long provided a safe, supportive environment for boys to develop both their self-esteem and leadership skills. An important element of that environment is the acceptance of and respect for the diversity of people in our communities. We celebrate the fact that our troop and the Minuteman Council continue this tradition and are in the vanguard of change for the Boy Scouts of America.
In recent years, the Boy Scouts of America has come under fire for its exclusion of gays as Boy Scouts and Scout leaders. Many companies that donated thousands of dollars the Boy Scouts organization began reducing their contributions, mounting pressure now on the organization to make changes.
Civil rights are not won by all-or-nothing propositions. Just as the fight for marriage equality progressed slowly, one state at a time, we feel certain that once local Scout troops begin admitting gay and lesbian Scouts and leaders in progressive regions like New Hampshire's Seacoast and southern York County, the rest of the nation will surely follow because it is the just and right thing to do.