GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) states that while it applauds the recent vote to allow avowed homosexual youth as members in the Boy Scouts, it believes that the remaining ban on openly homosexual leaders should also be repealed. The organization has been using an online effort to prompt further changes in the Scouts.
“The Boy Scouts of America voted to end its ban on gay scouts, which is a huge victory for gay youth,” GLAAD writes on its website. “But gay scout leaders … are still banned from scouting. It’s time to keep up the pressure! GLAAD needs your help to make sure gay parents and adults are also able to participate.”
The group has been spearheading an effort since last year to urge the Boy Scouts to allow openly homosexual leaders following the dismissal of Jennifer Tyrell of Ohio, who was ousted from her position because her lifestyle conflicted with scouting policies. This past week, both GLAAD and Tyrell appeared at the Boy Scouts of America annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas to voice its opposition to the ban. Scouts for Equality and the Inclusive Scouting Network were also among those present.
Following the repeal of the current Scout policy regarding openly homosexual members, GLAAD representative Ross Murray appeared on MSNBC to discuss his view that practicing homosexuals should be allowed to serve as leaders.
“[Allowing homosexual members but not leaders] sends a very mixed message of, ‘We are training you to become leaders, but once you turn 18, we don’t trust you to be leaders within your organization,'” he said. “So, clearly there is still more work to be done until the Scouts are fully inclusive.”
Murray stated that with the new policy coming into effect next year, it will be difficult for many councils to deny a leadership role to a scout once they turn 18.
“Most of the scout leaders are scouts themselves,” he said. “Imagine someone being trained at 14, 15, 16, 17, who is so loyal and dedicated, and has proven their service to the Scouts. It’s going to be harder and harder and harder for local councils to look them in the eye on their 18th birthday and say, ‘Oh, you’re not worthy. You’re not moral. We’re going to kick you out of the organization.'”
“That’s why there are now councils that are passing discrimination policies,” Murray continued. “Here in New York, Connecticut, Minnesota — there have been places that have already put a fully inclusive policy in place.”
The organization has been petitioning about the matter with Tyrell, and has collected over 16,000 signatures to date.
However, others express deep concerns over such policy changes, including the recent amendment that passed in Grapevine last week.
Rob Schwarzwalder, senior vice president of Family Research Council, told reporters that it is dangerous to place men that have sexual attraction toward those of the same gender in charge of juvenile boys.
“As a father, I wouldn’t want my sons to go on a camping trip with a teenage girl and stay in the same tent. Similarly, I think it’s unwise to put boys or young men in a tent with boys or young men who are homosexual,” he outlined.
As previously reported, last October, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered thousands of documents outlining widespread sexual abuse in the Boy Scouts of America to be released to the public. Wayne Perry, president of the Boy Scouts of America, acknowledged the organization’s failure to protect young boys from harm.
“There have been instances where people misused their positions in scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong,” he said. “Where those involved in scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families.”
“These guys basically were in a candy store, the way they thought about it,” attorney Paul Mones noted.
Alex Mason, policy analyst for the Family Policy Network in Forest, Virginia, told Christian News Network that concerns regarding homosexual leaders are very real and should not be overlooked.
“This … will only lead to the abuse and corruption of young men and boys,” he stated. “Homosexuals are not always pedophiles, but anyone who doesn’t see the increased incidence of pedophilia among homosexuals simply isn’t paying attention.”