Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Boy Scouts Want Us To Be Prepared. For Intolerance?!

When asked about his position as an executive Board member of Boy Scouts of America, an organization that discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, Mitt Romney said in 1994: “I have let my views be known…I feel that all people should be allowed to participate in the Boy Scouts, regardless of their sexual orientation."

Nevertheless, earlier this month, after a two-year confidential internal review, the Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed its decision to continue to ban gay boys from being scouts, and gay and lesbian men and women from serving as troop leaders. The Boy Scouts of America say that the reason they are reaffirming the policy is that parents want to be able to address the issues of same-sex orientation within the home, and because banning gays reflects the beliefs and perspectives of members of the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts of America believe that by banning gay youth from being scouts, and gay adults from becoming leaders, the organization is better able to focus on its mission to build character, and create responsible, well-rounded individuals prepared to be productive within society.

The Boy Scouts of America’s mission is admirable. However, their reasoning is flawed. The only thing that the ban is teaching these young men is that prejudice, bigotry and discrimination are acceptable. Their organization claims to want to aid and prepare youth to become productive, responsible and conscientious members of society. The Boy Scouts of America’s mission is to aid youth, but their ban leaves out an entire segment of the population who will eventually grow up and enter society as adults. Perpetuating hate will not build the society that the Boy Scouts seek to create.

In the past, the Boy Scouts have been just as bigoted towards other groups of people, originally banning African Americans from becoming scouts. History has proven that discrimination based on race was wrong and the Boy Scouts now fully accept scouts of all races. Hopefully the Boy Scouts of America will soon recognize that discrimination based on sexual orientation is also wrong. The Boy Scouts of America need to change their policy of discrimination in order to fully embrace the mission they claim to support. Perpetuating fear and hate does not aid in the development of young men with strong values. Discrimination causes instability within society. The Boy Scouts of America need to end their discriminatory policy and embrace boys and scout leaders from all walks of life.

While we consider discrimination against individuals based on their sexual orientation to be a very serious matter, you should also watch this clip called Gaywatch – Holdouts Edition, from the brilliant minds at The Daily Show.

Julianne Gern
ACLU of Wyoming Legal Extern