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Boy Scouts Allowing Gay Youth Starting New Years Day

Posted by on Jan. 1, 2014 at 8:01 PM
  • 11 Replies

Pomona First Baptist Church has been the home of Boy Scout Troop 101, one of the oldest west of the Mississippi River, for 103 years. But as of tomorrow, New Years Day, that relationship will end  when the church will sever ties with the troop over the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to admit openly gay youth.

The Boy Scouts have a long history of discrimination, and not just against the LGBT community, most of which you wont find on their website.  Their website boasts in their ‘about’ section:

The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness. For over a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes — and, through over a century of experience, knows — that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.”

And they have their own timeline of Boy Scout history, but here is a less sugar coated timeline from Mother Jones: 

1910:  The Boy Scouts are founded in 1910, and in 1911 the official oath is adopted, which says that scouts will keep themselves “morally straight.” The Boy Scouts decide later that homosexuality is counter to this oath.

“On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout law. To help other people at all times, to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.

1913: The Mormon Church partners with the Boy Scouts in 1913. By 2012, every Mormon church in the United States has a Scout troop, and Mormon boys are automatically enrolled in the organization. Mormon’s do not recognize same-sex marriage but it does allow LGBT members in church.
1934: BSA approves the National Catholic Committee on Scouting, which begins forming and supporting Catholic-chartered troops. The Catholic church opposes both gay marriage and social acceptance of homosexuality.

1974:  For decades, the Boy Scouts let local troops decide what to do about integrating African Americans into the group. The policy wasn’t successful at integrating African American troops: Many chapters, particularly in the South, continued to discriminate.

Nov. 1980: As part of a series on gay teenagers in the Bay Area, the Oakland Tribune covers 18-year-old Tim Curran, an Eagle Scout and aspiring scoutmaster who attended his high school senior prom with a male date. After the Mount Diablo Boy Scout Council gets wind of the story, they bar Curran from scouting activities. Shortly after, Curran sued the Council with help from the American Civil Liberties Union. The case was brought to the Supreme Court of California, which ultimately ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts.

1998: The California Supreme Court weighs in on Tim Curran’s lawsuit and finds that the Boy Scouts are not subject to California’s anti-discrimination law.

June 2000:  In a 5-4 decision, the US Supreme Court rules that the Boy Scouts can bar gay troop leaders because the group has a “constitutional right of expressive association.” The case was brought to the highest court in the land by James Dale, who was fired from his position as assistant scoutmaster in 1990 for being gay.

Aug. 2000: Two couples, one gay and one straight (and agnostic), file a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts and the city of San Diego because they are barred from using a public park that is exclusively leased to the Boy Scouts. The District Court rules in favor of the couples in 2003, but the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturns the decision in 2012.

 Aug. 2003:  A Boy Scout troop in Sebastopol, California loses its charter because it adopted an anti-discrimination statement that conflicts with BSA’s gay ban. The troop says it will join with the YMCA or another organization instead.
March 2006: Berkeley, California finds a unique way to take a stand against the gay ban: Charge the Sea Scouts, which teach sailing and carpentry to young scouts, $500 per boat to park in the marina because they don’t abide by the city’s anti-discrimination policy. The city says it will continue to do so until the Sea Scouts break from the Boy Scouts or stop discriminating. In March, the California Supreme Court rules that the city is operating within its rights.
2010: Jon Langbert, who lives in University Park, Texas, volunteers in 2010 to help his son’s pack sell popcorn. Even though the fundraiser was a success, he was asked not to return because he has a male partner, Langbert told The New York Times.
April: Jennifer Tyrrell, an Ohio mom and den leader, is dismissed by her local Boy Scout pack for being gay. She then starts a petition against the ban and gathers 140,000 signatures.
July:  After a two-year internal review, the Boy Scouts reaffirm their policy of discriminating against gay members on the basis that it reflects the “beliefs and perspectives” of the organization. The announcement is a blow to advocates seeking to overturn the ban.
August: White House Press Secretary Jay Carney announces that President Obama does not support the Scouts’ gay ban, but will nonetheless continue serving as honorary president of the organization. Every US President since 1910 has served in that role.
September: The Intel Foundation, one of the Boy Scouts’ biggest funders, stops donating to the organization.
October: In October, the Boy Scouts are forced by the Oregon Supreme Court to release their “perversion files,” two decades worth of documents detailing molestation accusations against scout leaders from 1965 to 1985. Critics say the Boy Scouts should be focusing on stopping these predators, not removing gay members.
November: UPS announces that the Boy Scouts’ ban conflicts with the company’s corporate giving policy, and drops funding.
December: The Merck Company Foundation follows in the footsteps of Intel and UPS, and stops funding the Boy Scouts because of the ban.
January: Pack 442 in Cloverly, Maryland posts a non-discrimination statement on their website in September 2012. In January, the Boy Scouts say that the pack will lose its charter unless it takes down the statement. Pack 442 removes the statement, but says it will continue accepting gay members.
January: After pressure from both donors and former scouts, the Boy Scouts announce they will vote on whether to overturn the ban. Even if the ban is overturned, local troops will still be allowed to discriminate against gay members, as the organization refuses to dictate a national policy.
February: The Family Research Council and 41 allied organizations run an ad in USA Today supporting the ban. Republican Governor Rick Perry of Texas also expresses his support, saying the organization should bend to “popular culture.”
February:  At an interview held before the Super Bowl, President Obama is asked whether the Boy Scouts should allow gay members, and answers simply, “Yes.”
February:  Scouts and their families, both gay and straight, deliver petitions with over a million signatures to the Boy Scouts’ Texas headquarters, in advance of the vote.
February: The AP reports that the Boy Scouts are delaying making a decision on admitting gay members, because the board need more time to deliberate.
In April 2013, Lucien Tessier, 20, and Pascal Tessier, 16, of Kensington, Maryland, who are openly gay brothers, petitioned the BSA to end their anti-gay ban – so that Pascal may receive his Eagle Award like his brother did. Lucien started the campaign and petition after someone from his local Boy Scout Council, the National Capital Area Boy Scout Council, told Pascal that because he was openly gay, he would not be eligible for the same Eagle Award Lucien had received a few years earlier. This was the first time in either of the brothers’ many years of dedication to the BSA that one of them had been rejected.
Lucien Tessier and Pascal Tessier

Lucien Tessier and Pascal Tessier

For me, the proudest moment of my years of service and dedication to Scouting was the moment I received my Eagle award. My little brother deserves that moment, too. Every Scout deserves a chance to get their Eagle,” says Lucien.

The BSA had been planning for an internal vote by adult members on the issue of its anti-gay prejudice at the end of May. After launching a series of membership surveys the BSA found that, among other things, an overwhelming majority of parents, teens, and members in the Scouts strongly agreed that it would be unacceptable to deny an openly gay Scout an Eagle Award solely because of his sexual orientation. ”The Boy Scouts insist on denying hard-working young men the honors they deserve simply because they’re gay, which tears apart their relationship with proud Scouting families like the Tessiers,” said Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s Vice President of Communications. “A majority of Americans, and even the Boy Scouts’ own members, agree that it’s time we end the shameful rejection of qualified gay Scout.

In response to the surveys the Scouts announced on April 19th that the quickly approaching May vote would be specifically on allowing openly gay youth back into the Scouts,  but they still would not allow gay adults or even though there was internal and nationwide support for dropping the ban altogether. “I’m thrilled that under the proposed resolution, after years of service and dedication to the Boy Scouts, my brother would be eligible to earn his Eagle award,” said Lucien Tessier, “But what I cannot understand is why the Boy Scouts of America believes that I’m not fit to lead my brother’s troop, even though I received the Boy Scouts highest honor just a few years ago. If a Scout has what it takes to earn his Eagle award, surely he has what it takes to serve as an adult leader.” 

GLAAD is also working with Scouts for equality an organization of more than 5,000 Eagle Scouts who are working together to urge the Boy Scouts to end their ban on all gay members. They both stand firmly in support of the Tessiers’ efforts to overturn the ban. “Lucien and Pascal are shining examples of outstanding Scouts. Their situation clearly demonstrates the shortcomings of the BSA’s policy, and we will not rest until youth like Pascal get the rank and respect they deserve,” said Brad Hankins, Eagle Scout and National Campaign Director of Scouts for Equality. “We’re proud to see Lucien standing up for his little brother, and we’re proud to call them both brothers in Scouting and members of Scouts for Equality.” 

The Tessier’s are just one story of many but there was also plenty of opposition as well. After the BSA announced they would lift the ban on gay youths, issuing a statement on May 23, 2013 that, in part, reads: “Today, following this review, the most comprehensive listening exercise in Scouting’s history the approximate 1,400 voting members of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Council approved a resolution to remove the restriction denying membership to youth on the basis of sexual orientation alone. The resolution also reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting. A change to the current membership policy for adult leaders was not under consideration; thus, the policy for adults remains in place. The BSA thanks all the national voting members who participated in this process and vote. This policy change is effective Jan. 1, 2014, allowing the Boy Scouts of America the transition time needed to communicate and implement this policy to its approximately 116,000 Scouting units.  The Boy Scouts of America will not sacrifice its mission, or the youth served by the movement, by allowing the organization to be consumed by a single, divisive, and unresolved societal issue. As the National Executive Committee just completed a lengthy review process, there are no plans for further review on this matter.”

See press conference after vote with BSA leadership here:

There were many who hated the decision and warned the Scouts to not give in to pressure. On “The 700 Club,” the conservative televangelist, Pat Robertson,  said the Boy Scouts’s ruling “boggles the mind.” He blamed Hollywood and the “liberal media” for promoting  (LGBT) rights and Robertson added, “It breaks your heart to see the Boy Scouts…torn up in order to accommodate a few kids that want to do sex with each other.”  Also, he wondered aloud if permitting gay Scouts to join the BSA would also open the door to “predators” and “pedophiles.”

See the video courtesy of Right Wing Watch:


Two  Christian radio show hosts known for their controversial, anti-gay commentary have suggested that the  repeal of the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay members will lead to merit badges being awarded for cannibalism and sodomy.  ”Manhood is a problem and the Boy Scouts are going to lead the decline now,”host Kevin Swanson said. ”Since the final decision came down that the Boy Scouts as a national organization are going to invite homosexuals into the troops.”

This “breakdown of manhood” brought on by the inclusion of gay scouts will lead to several new Boy Scout awards, according to Swanson’s co-host Dave Buehner, including “the sodomy merit badge.

And after that I guess it’s incest. After that I guess it’s the cannibal merit badge,” Swanson cut in, adding that the Boy Scouts “are trying to add abomination on abomination, effectively going into God’s word, trying to find the thing that God really, really, really hates the most. The sins listed in the Bible, going through the lists of sins in the Bible, finding the very worst ones and creating merit badges for them is where the Boy Scouts are headed.”

After the ruling, Pastor Greg Walker tells WBRC-TV that Boy Scout troops will no longer be welcome to meet onsite at the First Baptist Church of Helena. “It’s hard on a personal level to say to a troop of young boys who have done nothing wrong and to the leaders, ‘You’re not welcome here,’” Walker told the news channel. “I didn’t make the decision, Boy Scouts of America did.

And then there is Trail Life USA,  a Christian and anti-gay scouting group that intends to serve as an alternative to the Boy Scout program, had their first gathering in September, drawing in over 1,000 attendees — including former Arkansas Governor  Mike Huckabee and a George W. Bush impersonator. A statement from the group reads: ”Trail Life USA will be inclusive of boys, regardless of religion, race, national origin or socioeconomic status, and accept boys who are experiencing same-sex attractions or gender confusion. However, it will not admit youth who are open or avowed about their homosexuality, and it will not admit boys who are not ‘biologically male’ or boys who wish to dress and act like girls.”

The program is set to function around a structure that is the same as that of the Boy Scouts, but with a focus on both “sexual purity” and adherence to “a standard statement of Christian values.” Trail Life USA will also incorporate values and beliefs of the American Heritage Club, a Christian-based Girl Scout Alternative formed over a decade ago.

The Boy Scouts released a statement in response to the formation of Trail Life USA that reads: “It’s inappropriate for us to discuss other organizations, but we’re pleased that our members remain committed locally and nationally.”

Trail Life USA is expected to formally launch on January 1, 2014- the same day the Scouts are allowing gay members.

A video from the group:

Two of BSA’s biggest sponsors, the Catholic and Mormon churches, have maintained ties with the organization. “There hasn’t been a whole lot of fallout,” said Haddock. “If a church said they wouldn’t work with us, we’d have a church right down the street say, ‘We’ll take the troop.’” 

As far as the church in Pamona,  officials just delivered the news in mid-December that the troop’s charter would not be renewed after it expired on Dec. 31, leaving troop leaders scrambling to find another sponsor within weeks. On Sunday, the troop voted to accept an offer from a new partner, also a church. Scoutmaster James Meyette said he felt “encouraged.”

We have somewhere where we’re wanted,” said Meyette, 44, a father of two boys in Scouting. “It is a relief knowing that the troop is not going to fade away.  What we’ll be able to take away from this is being able to teach the boys that life isn’t always neat and tidy.”  Meyette, who will be charged with clearing out troop relics and equipment from the church, including photos of its Scouts pre-dating World War II. How one deals with change and moves forward “is going to define you,” he added.

Zach Wahls, executive director of Scouts for Equality, said he felt the BSA would learn that there was nothing to worry about by admitting gay youth. “The biggest result of this change is simply going to be people wondering what all the fuss is about,” said Wahls, an Eagle Scout and son of a lesbian couple. “Opening membership to gay youth is an historic first step toward full equality in the BSA, but we’re not there yet,” Wahls said.  ”Scouts for Equality will continue to advocate for a fully inclusive membership policy, to help build a stronger, more inclusive Boy Scouts of America.”

Wahls pointed out in the statement that gay scouts will be excluded from their troops once they turn 18, even after they have achieved the highest honor in scouting, the Eagle Scout Award.

“My hope is there will be the same effect this Jan. 1 as the Y2K scare,”  said Brad Haddock, an executive board member of the BSA to the AP, referring to the feared computer havoc that never materialized in the year 2000.  ”It’s business as usual, nothing happens and we move forward.”

by on Jan. 1, 2014 at 8:01 PM
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Replies (1-10):
by Ruby Member on Jan. 1, 2014 at 8:06 PM


It's a step in the rigjht direction

by Silver Member on Jan. 1, 2014 at 9:41 PM

What is messed up?

Quoting NeonGirl9583: That is messed up. my ds is a boy scout

by on Jan. 1, 2014 at 9:43 PM
Good for them
by on Jan. 1, 2014 at 9:44 PM
Whats messed up about it?

Quoting NeonGirl9583: That is messed up. my ds is a boy scout
by Platinum Member on Jan. 1, 2014 at 9:45 PM


by on Jan. 1, 2014 at 10:00 PM

Don't get why anyone would want to be a boy scout but good for them!

by Emerald Member on Jan. 1, 2014 at 10:16 PM
Forget the Boy Scouts there are other options to consider if one doesn't want to be around perverted garbage.

by Silver Member on Jan. 1, 2014 at 10:35 PM
1 mom liked this

ok, and? It's been discussed to death, and incidentally, it started several months ago, far before the 1st.

 I was an executive in our local council, as is my husband a boy scout commisioner. Ours is part of a Lutheran church,  and the church chose to continue sponsoring the troop. Incidentally, the church makes it's position clear, plus now every scout through the church (not one we even attend, as we go to a Baptist one) every scout in the troop is to take the God and Family pin/ knot, taught by this particular church. They don't discriminate, but this troop will not allow them to progress unless they take that knot, and participate in the church instruction, same would go for athiests or anyone who wants to be part of the troop. I thought it was quite reasonable, the church doesn't compromise their values or beliefs and they use it as an outreach opportunity.

They already were pretty strong on following the rules of the no one on one adult, etc. They also changed the bylaws in that every leader has to espouse to certain church teachings so some leaders were dropped off the list.

Every troop is different, and there are a lot of different types of sponsoring organizations. There are numerous ones to choose from, and some are completely secular. My vote was actually to drop the BSA as a result of this decision, but I commend this church for their approach, and they are not alone in it.

I have 3 Eagle Scout candidates. It does phenomenal things for their future, as the oldest is receiving all sorts of honors from potential colleges, many of which are linked to his Eagle. It has been great, and specifically because of this troop.

You don't have to participate if you don't like them, personally I think they are great - and troops will still find a way to address thier concerns if any :)

by Ruby Member on Jan. 2, 2014 at 2:40 AM

 Well, there you go sweets.  Are you going to run out tomorrow and sign your son up for scouts?

Quoting sweet-a-kins:


It's a step in the rigjht direction


by Platinum Member on Jan. 2, 2014 at 8:16 AM

 Yay free market!

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