Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy finds resistance in New England

Boston Globe
|
December 13, 2012

The date is not set yet, but the invitation went out.

A leader of Boy Scout Troop 6 in Brookline, Matthew Christensen, reached out to Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Families, & Friends of Lesbians and Gays) to speak to the members of his troop.

“It make would make a lot of sense for what we’re trying to push, which is for scouts to be leaders in anti-bullying,” said Christensen in a recent phone interview with Boston Spirit. And, he said, it reinforces the idea of the troop being a “safe space.”

Christensen is walking a fine line. When the national office of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) announced this past July — less than a year after the US military successfully repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell — that it would reaffirm its longstanding policy that prohibits the inclusion of openly gay scouts and scout leaders, a policy first officially articulated in 1991, councils and council leaders across the United States had to decide how to respond.
In New England, where LGBT rights are mainstream, many local councils — which oversee local troops, like Brookline’s Troop 6 — are wrestling with the policy. Six area Boy Scout groups are listed as “supporting councils” on the website of Scouts for Equality, an organization that advocates for LGBT inclusion in the BSA.