Boy Scouts to Gays: Maybe...?

The Boy Scouts of America say they will review their ban on gay members and leaders—but they’ll take their time.

Boy Scouts taking the oath
Don't expect the Boy Scouts of America to lift their ban on gay Scout leaders any time soon. (Eliot J. Schechter/Getty)
A former Gourmet staffer, Lawrence enjoys writing about design, food, travel, and lots of other stuff.

On my honor I will do my best
To do my duty to God and my country
and to obey the Scout Law

That is unless I’m gay, because then all bets are off. The Boy Scouts of America will review a resolution that would allow individual units to accept gays as adult leaders, but a spokesman says there’s no expectation that the ban on gay leaders will in fact be lifted any time soon,” reports the San Francisco Chronicle. The results are not expected until May 2013.

You have to hand it to the BSA, which celebrated its one hundredth anniversary in 2010. They’re certainly not influenced by the social changes swirling around us or by the fact that, “During last week’s meeting, the Scouts were presented with a petition, bearing more than 275,000 names, protesting the ouster of a lesbian mother, Jennifer Tyrrell, who’d been serving as a Scout den mother near Bridgeport, Ohio . . . Among those who presented the petition, and met with Scout officials, was Eagle Scout Zach Wahls, an Iowa college student who was raised by lesbian mothers.”

To help other people at all times;
To keep myself physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight

Oh, wait, morally straight. Is this the family values part of the oath? I never quite thought of it that way, but it kind of makes sense. Back in 1999, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the BSA’s dismissal of James Dale, an openly gay Scout leader, was illegal under the state’s antidiscrimination law. At the time, the organization released a statement saying that while they were sure “Mr. Dale is a nice man . . . ” the Boy Scouts of America has long taught traditional family values.” Translation: morally straight.

But that story didn’t have a such a happy, gay ending for Mr. Dale—the Supreme Court ruled in June 2000 that the New Jersey court’s decision unconstitutionally violated the rights of the BSA, specifically the freedom of association which allows a private organization to exclude a person from membership when “the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group’s ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.”

A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

He just shouldn’t be gay, think about being gay, be mentored by anyone who is gay or lesbian, or be seen talking to anyone who might be gay or lesbian. You may now take the oath.

How do you feel about the BSA ban against gay Scout leaders?

Lawrence Karol is a freelance writer and editor who lives in New York City in a mid-century-modern-inspired apartment with his dog, Mike. He is a former Gourmet editor, who enjoys writing about design, food, and lots of other stuff. @WriteEditDream | Email Lawrence

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