August 30, 2010
Obviously I have not been keeping this page up to date. There has been a lot of action on the BSA front since my last posting, but I have discovered that there are other sites that have devoted themselves to unmasking the BSA's discriminatory policies and fighting the discrimination and I have put links to those sites below.
However, there's something very important to remember here. Ever since the Dale v. BSA ruling in 2000, the BSA has been legally defined as a private religious organization. As such, I totally support their right to accept as members anyone they choose and to reject, for any reason, those they do not want. With that said, I must add this.
As a private religious organization, the BSA is NOT entitled to ANY form of government subsidy or financial support. To allow the BSA to retain their special $1 a year rental fees at national parks, etc. is providing financial support and this must stop. And it IS stopping. But the BSA is fighting it tooth and nail. When people suggest that we allow the government to support the BSA, I remind them that the KKK is also a private religious organization and that if we support one private religious organization we need to support them all. That usually shuts someone up.
So without further ado, here are some links to sites that are dedicated to keeping track of all the news that deals with the BSA and their discriminatory policies and their ongoing bid to get financial support from the federal, state and local governments and public schools. I will no longer be updating this page after today.
June 21, 2001
I got an email today that contained the following story from Reuters:
(Chicago) The American Medical Association (AMA) is poised to take on the Boy Scouts and any other organization that bans homosexuals.
"Homophobia is a health hazard," said Dr. Thomas L. Hicks, a Tallahassee family physician. Hicks spoke in support of a proposed new policy that directs the AMA to "ask all national youth-oriented organizations to reconsider any and all exclusionary policies that are based on sexual orientation." The Boy Scouts prohibit homosexuals from being Scout leaders. [NOTE from me: Not only does the BSA prohibit homosexuals from being scouts leaders but they make efforts to get rid of Scouts who reveal that they're gay— like the young Scout they fired as a camp counselor for being gay. Although he was eventually rehired, it wasn't what the BSA wanted.]
While most speakers favored the new policy, Dr. Francis Rockett of Brookline, Massachusetts warned that the resolution might make it easier for pedophiles to "get into these organizations." [NOTE from me again: This is the kind of ignorant and groundless fears and stereotypes that gays have to put up with all the time. The same kind of "what if" fears that whites used to try to keep laws prohibiting blacks and whites from marrying. In truth, most pedophiles identify themselves as heterosexuals.]
Dr. John Franklin, an ophthalmologist from West Hartford, Connecticut, argued that "pedophilia is not a homosexual problem." [Note yet again: there ya go! See what I mean? Dr. Franklin knows what he's talking about, yet because this Dr. Rockett said what he said and holds the position that he does, his remarks have sowed the idea in many minds that pedophilia=homosexuality. These subconscious ideas are hard to destroy since most aren't aware they exist.] Franklin said he was a "former Boy Scout and the proud father of a lesbian daughter who is deeply devoted to protection of the rights of all people."
The new resolution was drafted by the Rhode Island delegation after a "local Boy Scout leader asked us to do so," said a Rhode Island Medical Society spokesperson.
In an interview with Reuters Health, Hicks said that banning homosexuals from organizations such as Boy Scouts increases "the sense of rejection— it leads to increased incidence of suicide and other harmful risk-taking behaviors like drug abuse."
[Note: The rest of the article dealt with bullying so I snipped it.]
These are the kinds of resolutions we need: making people aware of the dangers of such policies as the BSA's. Gay youth already have the deck stacked against them with social stigmatization, religious ostracization and fear of familial rejection. The last thing they need is an organization like the BSA pushing saying essentially "You're not good enough for us because you're gay."
January 11, 2000
Writing 2000 still feels weird...kinda like we should be getting around in personal jet packs and have food replicators...LOL
There have been a lot of positive and a few negative developments lately. First, I've rearranged the order of this page so that the latest changes come first and you don't need to scroll all the way down to the bottom to read the new parts.
I wrote earlier of the conflict between the UUA and the BSA. For a while, it looked like it would be resolved. Then the BSA backed out of a compromise so the UU religion award is still "unofficial" as far as the BSA is concerned. On top of that, the BSA refused to charter a Boy Scout troop sponsored by a UUA church because the leadership was "recruited" by Scott Cozza, father of Steven Cozza, one of the founders of Scouting for All. The pastor of the church was outraged and there was some negative publicity for the BSA, but so far, nothing has made them change their tune.
There was some talk about forming a committee to look at the issue, but so far, nothing much has come of that talk.
A mother in Portland, Oregon whose son was atheist sued to stop the BSA from distributing recruiting fliers during school hours in the school. The school district eventually forbid the BSA from distributing its fliers, so that was one small victory. I'm considering that approach myself for my own school district, but since I'm not fighting from a religious perspective, I'm not sure I'd have the same grounds. I'm looking into making it a class action suit. Defamation of character or something like that by implying that gays are innately immoral.
It feels to me as if we're drawing more attention to the BSA's actions and discriminatory policies. It also seems that the more attention we draw, the harder they dig in their feet. But I do feel it's only a matter of time before the policy is overturned.
An interesting statistic: the second largest sponsor of Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs is the public school system. Given that, it would seem that there would be more cause to eliminate discrimination from any group that is sponsored by a public school.
If anyone would like to subscribe to a newsletter that will keep you updated on the BSA issue, please email me and I'll send you the email address.
November 6, 1998
By now, everyone has heard of the tragic death of Matthew Shepard. What everyone might not have heard is that one of Matthew's accused killers was also an Eagle Scout. What very few probably know is that the BSA is aware that this could become a very ugly issue for the BSA and issued a statement to individual councils across the country as to what should be said if the tie in between the BSA's discriminatory practices and Matthew's death should become an issue.
This has GOT to stop. The BSA's policy only contributes to the mindset that non-heterosexuals are "less" human and therefore somehow deserve to die a brutal death. In fact, their policy is, in my mind, ever uglier than that of the preacher that protested the funeral services for Matthew. Those protesters are at least out in the open where everyone can see the ridiculousness of their claims. Yet the BSA masks its hateful and ugly message behind a cloak of righteousness and integrity.
Please take a few minutes to call or write to your local council or the national council and let them know that you are completely against their policy and demand that it be changed. If a Cub Scout or Boy Scout comes to your door with a fund raiser, please do NOT support them by buying anything from them if any of the money will go to the local or national councils. You need only ask the scout if this is a council sponsored event. If it is, inform them of why you are not going to buy from them. Many packs hold their own fundraisers, where all money raised goes directly to the pack. It is NOT individual packs, for the most part, that are the problem. It is an administrative issue, not an issue within the program that the boys encounter. So support the pack as much as you can, but please do NOT support the council by buying any item that will financially benefit the parent organization.
Also, you can contact the United Way and ask them why they continue to give money to the BSA when the BSA's discriminatory policies are in direct violation of the United Ways policy of not giving money to groups who discriminate.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE!! Please don't be one of those who feels that you alone cannot change anything. It's going to take a major groundswell of protest against the BSA before they will change their policy and EVERY VOICE COUNTS!!!
If nothing else, please take a moment to visit one of the sites below in tribute to Matthew Shepard.
Nothing new on my situation yet, but I'd like to make everyone aware of another discriminatory act by the BSA going on with regards to the Universalist Unitarian church. (Or is that Unitarian Universalists??? heshe) Anyway, because of their policy of accepting members of any faith (even agnostics or atheists) and sexual orientation, the BSA has decided that the UU will no longer be considered a religious organization and has discontinued their religious emblem program and has forbidden scouts to wear any previous emblems earned through this program. The UU is set to meet with the BSA and will take with them petitions signed by not only those in various communities but by those online as well. You can get more information here. Please sign the petition and notify any other ministers or Eagle Scouts especially about this gross discrimiation by the BSA.
Also, for a page that stands up for the rights of all boys to be members of the BSA (and for all adults to be leaders), please check out Scouting for All, a page by 12 year old Steve Cozza. The world needs more kids like this young man.
Since posting the above notice regarding the Scouting for All site, one of it's cofounders, Mr. Dave Rice, was kicked out of scouting after 59 years of unselfish service. Mr. Rice's only "sin" was that he supported Steven Cozza's efforts to change BSA policy from within the organization, just as the BSA laws for Boy Scouts requires of scouts. The BSA ignored testimony from both Steven and his father, Scott, that Mr. Rice did NOT use his position to gain their support for what the BSA called Mr. Rice's personal agenda to reverse BSA policy. Yet another sad demonstration of how the BSA is violating the very policies it requires of scouts.
May 8, 1998
I received a letter from the Regional Council, supporting the decision of the local council. Unfortunately, due to other circumstances in my life, I did not get my appeal off to the National Council before my 30 deadline. And with summer here and the kids home, I'm putting my plans to sue on the back burner. Once the kids are back to school and life calms down a bit, I'll resume my quest for justice.
For anyone who would like to contact the BSA about this issue or any discrimination issues, their URL is http://www.bsa.scouting.org/. From what I could find, there is no email address for the BSA itself.
The following appeared in the local paper today. (OK, so I forgot to put the date in and have no idea what day I made this page. LOL)
Court: Scouts' ban on gays discriminatory
TRENTON, N.J. (AP)-- The Boy Scouts of America suffered its first defeat Monday over its ban on homosexuals when a state appeals court ruled it discriminatory and said a gay scoutmaster should not have been expelled.
Eight years after James Dale was kicked out as an assistant scoutmaster because he is gay, the court said "stereotypical notions about homosexuals must be rejected."
The ruling came as the Boy Scouts are fighting court challenges to its exclusion policies around the country.
In California, for example, the state Supreme Court is expected to rule this month on two discrimination lawsuits, one filed by a man who was expelled because he is gay and the other by twin boys who were thrown out because they do not believe in God.
The Boy Scouts said it would appeal Monday's decision to New Jersey's Supreme Court.
(End of article.)
FINALLY!!!!!!! A judge with some common sense! Kudos to this person for having the courage to stand up to this Big Brother group and tell them to keep their noses out of the private lives of the volunteers who make their organization run. The Boy Scouts will have one more lawsuit to fight soon.