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Just out on MSNBC/NBC

The Boy Scouts of America, one of the nation’s largest private youth organizations, is actively considering an end to its decades-long policy of banning gay scouts or scout leaders, according to scouting officials and outsiders familiar with internal discussions.
Sort of
The policy change now under discussion “would allow the religious, civic or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue,” said the BSA's Smith.

“The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs,” he said.

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/...

Still, a big step forward giventheir long time position.

Originally posted to Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:15 AM PST.

Also republished by Angry Gays.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (46+ / 0-)

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:15:51 AM PST

  •  That is very good news! (16+ / 0-)

    Am I understanding this correctly? I'll go read the links, but they seem to be saying that they'll leave the decision about banning members up to the individual, local group? If so, that's a big step forward. Even the Mormon church has softened its position on this issue. I think most units would not ban a member that they personally know. I may be wrong, but it's still clearly a step in the right direction.

    P.S. I am not a crackpot.

    by BoiseBlue on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:21:24 AM PST

    •  That's what the MSNBC report indicated (10+ / 0-)

      Each unit, and it's sponsors and parents, would make the decision. I expect if this goes forward there will be a lot of realignments - parents pulling kids from both groups that keep or abandon the policy, and moving to units that are suportive of their positions.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:25:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  BSA confirms NBC's reporting (5+ / 0-)

        with a statement on their website.

        "Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation."

        It kind of reads like pre-spin talking points:

        Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.  
        Like, hey bigots, you're gonna have to fight locally to keep the gays out. If the local troop doesn't agree, that troop may not "best meet the needs of your family."

        Maybe start your own "no gays allowed troop?"

        "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."
        —Dan Savage

        by Scott Wooledge on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:46:13 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Exactly (0+ / 0-)

          Not just that, Scott... but the young boys who do not know they are gay growing up through cubs and scouts to become young scouts don't have a choice what troop they are going into and in many cases will have no idea of their sexuality when they join Tiger or Cub scouts.

          Who's going to be there to protect these kids from bullying or harmful discrimination?  No one, because apparently BSA national thinks it's OK because religious freedom and stuff.

          ~ Nothing insightful to say ~

          by EagleOfFreedom on Tue Jan 29, 2013 at 08:15:01 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  This is actually a really good move forward (10+ / 0-)

      and I think credit should be given to the individual units who fought for this after the meeting recently where they decided to reaffirm the ban.

      As a very involved parent who has one Eagle scout and another Life scout working towards Eagle this ban has been a huge problem for my family. I believe the kids in scouting can make this change.

      Our charter organization is a very progressive Presbyterian church which would not approve of a ban like this.

      People need to understand that each charter organization has final say over who can be in the troop. If a church wants to prevent muslims from being in their boy scout troop they can do that and the involved members have no say.

      BUT

      Members can choose to move to another troop and their advancements and awards follow them. If one troop chooses to ban homosexual members then people can move to one that is more accepting.

      I really hope this happens soon!

      Since when is the party that embraces all the top tenets of Satan allowed to call the God shots?--wyvern

      by voracious on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:09:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The cool troop will attract more kids (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Catte Nappe

        The troop my son joined as a cub scout 15 years ago in very wealthy town in Marin County, CA made a decision that we wouldn't discriminate. Because all of us were intelligent and accomplished we had less hesitance to run things our own way.

        I have to admit it wasn't in our charter, but as we formed our cub troop one of the parents, a medical professional, offered to lead with the understanding he was agnostic, wasn't into the religious stuff, didn't discriminate against gays, and expected everyone to be welcome and respected.  I have gay relatives, too, so this made it easy to sign on.

        I eventually ran our pack and enjoyed it.  We were one of the cool troops whenever we went places and encountered other troops. Kids had fun, parents participated, we did lots of energetic outdoor activities because the parents were in good shape, the cubs pulled each other along and earned lots of badges.

  •  Good to hear, if only a first step (6+ / 0-)

    For an organization so integrated into American life and culture, and so persistently dedicated to homophobic policies, it is indeed a step in the right direction.

    "Do it in the name of Heaven; you can justify it in the end..." - Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter

    by pragmaticidealist on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:22:20 AM PST

  •  Hopefully this comes in time for Pack 442 (18+ / 0-)
    A Cub Scout pack in Maryland has decided to jettison its gay-friendly membership guidelines under threat of losing its Boy Scouts of America charter, according to a statement on the pack’s website.

    Pack 442 of Cloverly, Md., had adopted a non-discrimination policy that read: “Pack 442 WILL NOT discriminate against any individual or family based on race, religion, national origin, ability, or sexual orientation.”

    http://usnews.nbcnews.com/...

    "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

    by Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:22:56 AM PST

  •  Surprised, and yet not surprised to hear this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, BoiseBlue, jayden

    These organizations rely on public support.  They can only take the heat for so long.  I'm sure they looked at what happened to Komen and decided maybe the time has come for them to stop digging in their heels.

    I blog about my daughter with autism at her website

    by coquiero on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:24:47 AM PST

    •  Heat from high places (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero, lgmcp, suzq, jayden, irishwitch

      As the story reminds us, two CEOs on their national board (AT&T and Ernst & Young) publicly came out in favor of a change. It also mentions both Obama and Romney said they should as well.

      Of course, they'll be hearing a lot from both sides in the coming days. Those that will loudly object to any idea of them sacrificing their long held values. But hopefully also loud encouragement from the rest of us.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:31:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Their long-held value (13+ / 0-)

        is the funding they receive from corporate donors and donations from large non-profits. They are losing on both fronts and they know it.

        I don't find this current move entirely appropriate nor do I think it is even a sensible strategy for the Scouts to take.
        On the one hand it condones blatant discrimination at the local level. If that is tolerated regarding sexual orientation, how will this NOT be used to allow other forms of discrimination as well?

        Secondly, it creates some fairly obvious points of friction within the organization as a whole. I haven't been a Boy Scout since the mid-1960's but I presume that there are things little-changed since that time including the fact that troops and councils interact with each other on a somewhat regular basis. How will this new policy play out at such things as Jamborees or even regarding those summer camps that cater to troups from a wide area? Whose policies are going to hold sway?

        The BSA would best be served by eliminating discrimination as an option across the board rather than kicking it the controversy to the local level.

        •  Good questions (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LuvSet, sfbob, jayden, coquiero, Tennessee Dave

          And it will be interesting to see how it plays out. On the plus side, since they appear to be budging off their status quo there is a chance for things to play out.

          "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

          by Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:01:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  I agree that much churning and dissonance (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Catte Nappe, LuvSet, sfbob, jayden, coquiero

          will be introduced, but I see that as a step likely to be necessary.  

          Someday soon, the abomination that is DOMA will be overturned, but without marriage laws at the state level to create dissonance, we would never have arrived this close.  

          I foresee a similar process for Scouting.

          "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

          by lgmcp on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:05:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  This^ (4+ / 0-)
          The BSA would best be served by eliminating discrimination as an option across the board rather than kicking it the controversy to the local level.

          ...Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall.
          Blog hard, community harder!

          by cooper888 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:06:32 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, similar to marriage equality. (5+ / 0-)

          It's messy and unfair but if it's the way to bring about change then so be it. Eventually everyone gets to the same point because it puts the discrimination in ever sharper contrast.


          Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

          by jayden on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 12:45:02 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gah! (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            coquiero, blueoasis

            I should have scrolled down before replying as this particular point has already been made.


            Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

            by jayden on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 12:46:36 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  And just like marriage equality (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            blueoasis, Catte Nappe, jayden

            progress begets progress. This is a "let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good" situation in my opinion. Definitely a compromise I can get behind.

            "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."
            —Dan Savage

            by Scott Wooledge on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:51:22 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well there is that I suppose... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              jayden
              This is a "let's not let the perfect be the enemy of the good" situation...
              And certainly an improvement on the BSA's previous stance.

              Nonetheless it strikes me that doing the right thing in a straightforward manner (if you will) is not, in this case, particularly difficult. But I most certainly see where you're coming from Scott.

              •  Well, I don't think BSA doing the right thing (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                sfbob

                in a straightforward manner is something that will get the necessary National Board Votes right now. I am frankly surprised we're discussing a half-victory in 2013 given they just reaffirmed the org's commitment to the ban just 6 months ago.

                "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."
                —Dan Savage

                by Scott Wooledge on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 07:07:02 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  Long held my a$$.. There was no mention of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        coquiero

        this bigotry before the Mormons & Methodists took over the BSA in the late 70's. They started supplying most of the financial support and that stance was part of the price for the funding. I remember it happening and people saying that they didn't agree, but since the Scouts needed the money, there wasn't much anyone could say against it.

        Information is abundant, wisdom is scarce. The Druid

        by FarWestGirl on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 04:24:59 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Totally OT (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      coquiero

      But I am very glad to see you were able to rec my comment :-)

      Glad that nonsense didn't stick.

      P.S. I am not a crackpot.

      by BoiseBlue on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:36:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Atheists, meanwhile, remain non grata (11+ / 0-)

    To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

    by UntimelyRippd on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:31:45 AM PST

  •  The Best Possible Dodge (16+ / 0-)

    This kind of dodge is really the best possible foot forward that the BSA can take. I don't feel that the ban on gay folk within the BSA has had a lot to do with sentiment at the national level for quite sometime. The real reason is the Church of Latter Day Saints.

    I believe something to the order of 20-25% of Scouting units are chartered by LDS churches. If the BSA decides to say everyone is welcome with open arms, its very possible that the LDS would take their units and walk away - starting their own program.

    I've long felt that the ban on gays within the BSA has more to do with economic hostage taking from Salt Lake City than anything else. This kind of policy pivot is a half measure, but one that tries to create a big tent.

    I'm a democrat and I believe in you.

    by winodj on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:40:16 AM PST

    •  And, a safe one (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp

      They can be confident that many of their packs will know to continue to actively discriminate (wink, wink, nudge, nudge).

    •  Not just LDS (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, Cassandra Waites, coquiero

      Boat loads of kids in Catholic sponsored troops as well. And many of the other faith based chartering groups have mixed policies of their own.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:59:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's the only one they can take. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe, coquiero, glattonfolly

      BSA is set up through institutions.  If the Mormons and Catholics were to pull out, BSA would be no more.

      That said, what they are finding is a stagnant base.  
         - Registration for Jamboree 2013 is down.
         - Membership in urban areas is down.
         - Corporate donors are down.
         - Sponsorship of BSA troops from mainline Protestant churches is dropping.
         - There is a threat that DOD may break their longstanding policy of support and cooperation with BSA.
         - They are one Democratic House and Senate away from getting a repeal "Save Our Scouts" waiver that was in the Homeland Security Act.

      It's the growth and future they need to think about.  Seriously.  

    •  You Are Spot on. (0+ / 0-)

      I am an Eagle Scout, was very active in Order of the Arrow, worked at scout camp and then for BSA National Council.  The BSA has a serious leadership problem, and that comes from the strong influence of the LDS church.

      If they do proceed to break the National ban and pass it down to the local councils/districts or troops, it's likely the LDS troops will continue to discriminate.  

      Enough is enough, the LDS church should pull out and form the Joseph Smith Boys Brigade or some similar thing...and I'd say good riddance.

  •  Call me when they do (11+ / 0-)

    This reminds me of the Methodists having a long discussion last summer about gay and lesbian ministers and then saying no. I'd say the chances of that happening here too are better than even.

    -7.75, -8.10; . . . Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall (h/t cooper888)

    by Dave in Northridge on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 10:43:07 AM PST

  •  Even slight signs of a thaw are welcome (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LuvSet

    though it's not so long, I seem to recall, since top leadership doubled down on exclusionary rhetoric.  

    Allowing individual units to extend a more tolerant policy would represent a step in the right direction.  Discrimination would persist in pockets, but enlightened views would start to take hold.

    I'd love to be able to support them unreservedly.  Maybe someday ...

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:02:47 AM PST

    •  However this is more wishy-washy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp, blueoasis

      Unlike the Methodists they aren't proposing an encompassing or binding top down change.

      "No one life is more important than another. No one voice is more valid than another. Each life is a treasure. Each voice deserves to be heard." Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse & Onomastic

      by Catte Nappe on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:05:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Seems like a move to distract or... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, S F Hippie, roycej

    ...kick the can down the road.

    Good news in that it forces the discussion but I'll believe it when I see it.

    ...Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall.
    Blog hard, community harder!

    by cooper888 on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:05:33 AM PST

  •  Methinks the damage is already done. (5+ / 0-)

    It's an authoritarian organization that allowed and abetted this abuse to begin with. That hasn't changed.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:13:57 AM PST

  •  Woo hoo! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, suzq

    I have been in a mental back and forth over letting my Weeblo "cross the bridge" to Boy Scouts next month.  I thought last year maybe they would reconsider and then they double-downed on the anti-gay thing.   But I also didn't want to yank him and leave only the bigots to be allowed to be Scouts (the old dilemma of change from within vs. principled stand boycott).

    Thank goodness this looks like progress finally.

    There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not? - Robert Kennedy

    by choochmac on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 11:16:18 AM PST

    •  We're in that same limbo. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Catte Nappe

      Our troop has an anti-discrimination policy.  We make sure it's enforced through Eagle by making sure our parents volunteer for Eagle Courts of Honor, where we take a stand that questions about sexual preference and personal religious beliefs should be off-limits.

      So far, so good with our council.  Then again, local council leadership knows it's walking a very fine line here.  Membership ouside of the Mormons and Catholics is down and they are concerned.

  •  We're not gonna' take it (7+ / 0-)

    Recently, I made a decision that I will no longer be silent.     I am an atheist, and when someone approaches me about the Boy Scouts, as they inevitably do, I answer them honestly.  I and my family, because we are atheists, and also dear friends and family of mine who are LGBT, would never be allowed to participate in their organization.   So, it's mutual.  I do not donate money to their organization.   I'm just following their lead.   I have had parents look at me, offended, and say "I don't discriminate", as if they do not realize that their participation and support in the organization signals their support for its disciminatory policies.

    If the scout is very young, I will not bring it up, because I feel they are too young to understand or have any control over the situation.   If they appear to be about nine or older, I answer honestly.

    I am a parent myself, and I feel that this is a good experience for kids.   Even if they don't agree, it does make them stop and think.

    I feel that parents and scouts who have the uncomfortable experience of unexpectedly finding themselves speaking directly to those that they are discriminating against, in everyday situations, it makes the theoretical discrimination become real and immediate.   It is particularly uncomfortable to discover yourself holding out your hand asking for favors from a person that you have wronged.

    It happened, recently, when a coworker sent an email selling Boy Scouts popcorn.   And, in front of a store where they had a table set up.  And, at a rocket club, where the poor kid was proudly wearing his Boy Scouts uniform, without a clue that, to many people, it is a badge of discrimination.

    I simply say, "I am a member of a group that the Boy Scouts actively discriminate against.   Neither I nor my husband or children would be allowed to belong to your organization, and therefore, I do not donate to your organization.    I say it with careful civility.  

    It is always amusing to see the look on their face.   It says, more clearly than words, "Oh!  You are one of them.   I thought you were one of us.   It's not my fault.   How could I have known you were one of them?"

    The only way to make the bleeding stop is to apply pressure.

    •  My scout kids already know. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp

      Any Boy Scout who is ranked a Scout or higher is fully aware of the weaknesses and limitations of the organization.  They are also old enough to be aware that we live in a pluralistic society.  One of the requirements to be a scout is to be aware of the community in which you live.  So keep educating.  

  •  I'm suspicious (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, lgmcp, jayden

    but a "states rights" version of change would be an improvement, if not exactly justice.

  •  My husband was an Eagle Scout (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, blueoasis

    and Order of the Arrow. IN 1992, after the Scouts in ME refused to let a lesbian Mom lead her son's Cub Scout troop, he mailed in his badges in protest. People on our Navy base wanted him to work with the annual  state-wide jamboree held there every year. He told them he believed in equality for all Americans and wouldn't work with any group that discriminated against GLBT  folk and atheists.

    I hope theya ctually do this.

    The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

    by irishwitch on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 01:44:54 PM PST

  •  Promising, but I'd be happier if (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    their decision was based on actual humanity instead of public relations.  They have a long way to go to convince this Eagle Scout.

  •  When the scouts disassociate (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    themselves from churches (they are far too cozy with the Catholic church) and allow atheists in too, as scouts and leaders, then I might consider supporting them, but not until then!

  •  Agree, a good start but some core concepts (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, UnionMade

    are going to need to be updated as well.

    Lets start with the Oath, eh?

    Is the organization going to allow separate but unequal definitions of fundamental principals?

    And then, of course, summer happens.

    Organizationally councils run camps, not chartering organizations.  

    Eventually, one would think, camps would not be able to  exclude units based upon the orientation of their scouts or their leaders.  

    But change happens slow, willthis open an ugly interim situation before reason prevails?

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 02:30:57 PM PST

    •  ^^^Rec'd for "separate but unequal." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jakewaters

      I immediately pictured the summer camps admitting the members of some troops, but not the members of others.

      •  This is where the national organization is going (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        UnionMade

        to have to make a stand.

        I suppose they could leave it up to individual council's but the council's stand to lose all but their their lil' green sock tabs in discrimination suits if they go big stupid.

        Unfortunately as I recall from my days working my council's camp in Upstate New York, the council was all about big stupid as is the on's my kids were involved with here outside Philly.

        "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

        by jakewaters on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:08:32 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  If the change happens, it's a big victory (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blueoasis, Catte Nappe, jakewaters

    if not the whole enchilada.

    "The marriage fight is over when we say it's over, and it's over when we win."
    —Dan Savage

    by Scott Wooledge on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 03:40:32 PM PST

  •  I agree, it will tip all the other needed changes (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe

    into motion.

    I don't think Mr Deron Smith is going to win the compromised day by offering a 'Citizenship in the Homophobic Community' merit badge.

    "I'll press your flesh, you dimwitted sumbitch! " -Pappy O'Daniel

    by jakewaters on Mon Jan 28, 2013 at 06:54:40 PM PST

  •  Boy Scout Ban (0+ / 0-)

    Scouting is focusing on the wrong item.  An individual's sexual orientation should not be an issue.  HOWEVER, if an individual is engaged in a sexual relationship outside of marriage, the troop should disqualifyfrom being a Scout or adult leader (gay or straight).  Focus on behavior not orientation.  Under 18 sex is a poor choice.  Once the Supremes legalize gay marriage there will be no issue for adults.

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