In the teeth of protests the Boy Scouts of America is sticking to a membership standards policy which excludes homosexual persons, both adult leaders and Scouts. That, according to media reports, is the meaning of a press release which mentions neither of the words “homosexual/ity” or “gay” and only once refers to “same-sex orientation”.
Under pressure to change the policy, the 102 year old organisation set up a committee of professional Scout executives and adult volunteers to review the issue in 2010. This week’s press release says:
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 organisation’s chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, told the Washington Post that most Scout families support the policy.
“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,” Mazzuca said. “We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
That seems a very reasonable stance, not to say a brave one. Presumably it applies to overt behaviour like claiming gay identity, promoting “gay rights” or engaging in same-sex relationships. I wonder what would be the position of a boy who confided to a leader that he experienced same-sex attraction, but was dealing with it privately with the help of his parents.