The Boy Scouts of America’s leadership began a conference Wednesday. It is expected to end in a vote to end the current ban on allowing openly gay Scouts.This is an important and much anticipated vote that is sure to effect the membership and funding of the Boy Scouts, no matter if the leadership ultimately votes for or against the lifting of the ban.
The conference of the leadership of the Boy Scouts of America are meeting this week at a resort at Grapevine, Texas.The resort is located near the suburban Dallas headquarters of the Boy Scouts of America.
The conferences are yearly.This week’s three-day meeting is destined to be a memorable one and it will be closely watched by groups both in the United States and around the world.
On Thursday, the leadership of the Boy Scouts will vote on a resolution on the lifting of the ban on openly gay Scouts. It’s a resolution that would not allow youth Scouts to be excluded solely based on sexual orientation.
They are gatehred in Texas to vote on this new statement: “No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
However the vote goes, the ban on gay adult leaders will remain in place, despite evidence to suggest that being a gay Scout leader has little to do with how well he does being a Scout leader.
The lifting of the ban has long been opposed by Conservatives and some religious groups, while gay-rights supporters have backed it. Protests and campaigns by national groups on both sides of this controversial issue have been organized in the effort to sway the estimated 1,400 members of the national council who will cast ballots.
BSA President Wayne Perry has voiced his opinion, favoring the lift of the ban on gay Scouts. He has called for voters to approve the resolution. In an opinion piece he wrote for USA Today, he stated that the lifting of the ban is a change in “the right decision for Boy Scouts.”
“Parents, adults in the Scouting community and teens alike tend to agree that youth should not be denied the benefits of Scouting,” he said in the piece in Wednesday’s USA Today. “The resolution is not about adults; it is about what is best for young people.”
Approximately two dozen people holding up signs saying “NO on the resolution” stood on the sidewalk Wednesday outside the entrance of the resort where the Boy Scouts of America leadership are convening. Supporters of the ban’s lift are staying at another resort, just across the street.
They are holding a meeting they dubbed the “Equal Scouting Summit.”
Some of those speaking on both sides of the issue include current and former Eagle Scouts. They recited parts of the Scout Oath and the 12-point Scout Law to make their separate cases. “Trustworthy,” and “Reverent,” were two of the important words in the oath that each side defined and used to make their case.
As a way to show their support for the lifting of the ban on openly gay Scouts, Dave McGrath and one of his six sons, Joe, rode their bicycles from Idaho to Texas to support Scouts for Equality. This pro-gay rights organization has organized rallies in several cities. Two of McGrath’s six sons are gay, and he has a brother who is gay.
He said he considers the current exclusion policy a “taint” on his Eagle Scout honor.
“So a Scout is trustworthy, unless you’re gay,” McGrath said. “That isn’t the way I was raised.”
Bill Lizzio of Johnson City, Tenn., opposes the ban because of the potential for sexual attraction that might develop. He favors the current ban, stating that he also he wouldn’t let a boy and a girl sleep in the same tent at camp.
Written by: Douglas Cobb