by Peter Sprigg
January 31, 2013
News reports indicate that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) may be on the verge of dropping their longstanding national policy forbidding open homosexuals from serving as Scout leaders or Scouts.
What many people may not realize, or may have forgotten, is that not only were the current membership standards upheld by the U. S. Supreme Court in 2000—they were also upheld by the Boy Scouts national leadership only six months ago.
However, I have discovered that the press release the Scouts issued at the time is no longer available on their website. Although the decision to maintain their policy was widely reported at the time, I thought it would be useful to reprint here the full text of the press release now missing from the BSA website:
After Two-Year Evaluation, Boy Scouts of America Affirms Membership Standards and Announces No Change in Policy
Organization to Take No Further Action on Resolution Requesting Revision of Policy
July 17, 2012
http://www.scouting.org/Media/PressReleases/2012/20120717.aspx [no longer active as ofJanuary 31, 2013]
IRVING,TEXAS — After careful consideration of a resolution asking the Boy Scouts of America to reconsider its longstanding membership standards policy, today the organization affirmed its current policy, stating that it remains in the best interest of Scouting and that there will be no further action taken on the resolution.
This decision follows a nearly two-year-long examination, started in 2010, of the policy commissioned by the Chief Scout Executive and national president. Under their leadership, the BSA convened a special committee of volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate whether the policy continued to be in the best interest of the organization.
The committee included a diversity of perspectives and opinions. The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations — both from within Scouting and from outside the organization. The committee’s work and conclusion is that this policy reflects the beliefs and perspectives of the BSA’s members, thereby allowing Scouting to remain focused on its mission and the work it is doing to serve more youth.
“The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting,” said Bob Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America. “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
Following the recommendation to affirm the BSA’s membership policy, the executive committee of the BSA National Executive Board released the following statement: “Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to achieve the life-changing benefits to youth through Scouting. While not all Board members may personally agree with this policy, and may choose a different direction for their own organizations, BSA leadership agrees this is the best policy for the organization and supports it for the BSA.”
Resolutions asking the BSA both to affirm and reconsider this policy have been raised throughout the years. With any resolution, regardless of subject, the BSA may or may not refer it to a committee for review or may immediately determine no further action is necessary.
About the Boy Scouts of America
The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation’s foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be “Prepared. For Life.™” The Scouting organization is composed of 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a million volunteers in local councils throughout the United Statesand its territories. For more information on the Boy Scouts of America, please visit www.scouting.org.