By positioning the Boys Scouts of America’s attitude toward gay scout leaders as a “minority” opinion on “social mores,” and including Jen Moore’s article, “Gay Ban Might Get Scouts Evicted” under the heading “Sexual Behavior” (November), the writer and Youth Today seriously missed the mark.
Gay men have been Scout leaders and Scouts amidst social intolerance, ambivalence and, lately, gradual acceptance, since the founding of the BSA. At issue with BSA’s policy of ousting gay men from their ranks is discrimination. It was not sexual behavior that led to the firing of such decorated Eagle Scouts and Scout leaders as Tim Curran, James Dale or Scott Pusillo, but rather each man’s acknowledgement that he was gay. A reference to well-publicized cases of discrimination by the BSA would have added balance to the story, which instead leaned heavily on the Cradle of Liberty Council’s point of view.
It is likely that the Cradle of Liberty Council does some good in its work with boys. But by subscribing to its national sponsors’ policy of discrimination, regardless of whether that particular chapter has actively discriminated, it is promoting inequality and intolerance.
One of our charges as youth service providers is to support young people’s ability to succeed in a diverse world. Fortunately for young people in Philadelphia and many other areas, there are alternatives to the BSA that have embraced this notion by adopting policies that explicitly prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation: Girl Scouts of the USA, YMCA, 4-H and Boys & Girls Clubs of America, among others.
Andrew J. Peters
of Program Development
Long Island Crisis Center