"...And Morally Straight"

This week the Boy Scouts of America upheld open discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender youth and families.

Recently, a Missouri Eagle Scout was forcibly removed from his position as a Boy Scout camp counselor when he came out and a lesbian mother was removed from her position as a Pack Leader. There was hope that the Boys Scouts of America would follow the lead of the Girls of Scouts of America and provide a safe and welcoming space for Gay/Bisexual and Transgender boys and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender families. Unfortunately, they have let down a whole community and our allies. It all boils down to this part of their pledge:  

 “…and morally straight.

You will maintain honest and open relationships with others. You will hold yourself to a high moral standard and be clean in your speech and actions while being faithful to your religious beliefs.”

To me it seems that the Boys Scouts are not holding themselves to the standards in their motto. Much like the failed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” Policy of the United States Armed Forces, the Boy Scouts policy of banning "out" Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people as joining as scouts, as well as, prohibiting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people from serving openly as leaders creates an atmosphere of dishonesty and discrimination. To me, this atmosphere is antithetical to the mission of the Boy Scouts.

Furthermore, there is burgeoning support, acceptance and celebration of LGBT people and our families in religious organizations, and countless Christian, Jewish and Muslim faith leaders continue to speak out against LGBT discrimination.

As loving, caring community members we have to ask ourselves this question---What message does this policy send to our young boys and men, to our society? The message for me is clear: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender people are less than and that we do not deserve full and equal access to institutions.  It is no wonder that the suicide rate for LBGT youth is 4x that of their heterosexual peers.

This is not because we, LGBT people, get messages that we are loved, wanted, included---- it is because we continually receive messages from institutions that we are evil, immoral and unfit leaders.  This must and will change. I have seen it happen in my lifetime, from the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell and Governer Cuomo signing Marriage Equality into NYS Law last year.

I know, as I was once in the Boy Scouts, that there are good people in the Scouts. I call on these good people to pressure their organization to be open and welcoming to all young people and families. I also urge churches, synagogues, community organizations and individuals who support the Boy Scouts to think about divesting. There are countless organizations that do not have policies that openly discriminate. All our children (LGBT and heterosexual) deserve better.


Joseph Coe is a Community Organizer and Activist in Rockland County.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

John Krouskoff July 19, 2012 at 11:26 AM
Discrimination such as this is ugly and cowardly. If the U.S. Armed Services can change, so too can the Boy Scouts. It is shameful that the Boy Scout leadership allows their wonderfully beneficial programs to be to used as tools of exclusion and to promote bias among those it serves.
Phyllis B Frank July 19, 2012 at 11:50 AM
Couldn't agree more. The Boy Scout position is shameful.
NoName July 19, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Based on an MSN Poll today- The Gay Agenda is not in the Majority on this issue. Most of america is against this huge media push to push everything Gay onto America. WHAT DO YOU THINK?.Lesbian mom on Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy: Keep fighting Woman was ousted as den master of her son's troop because of her sexuality. .Should the Boy Scouts be able to ban gays? Should the Boy Scouts be able to ban gays? Yes 61 % Yes 213,989 votesNo 34 % No 120,378 votesI'm not sure 5 % I'm not sure 15,931 votes
Felicia July 19, 2012 at 01:34 PM
If you don't like it don't join the club. Simple. What is shameful is the intolelerance shown here. Should every club be forced to include everyone? There are plenty of clubs for a particular demographic. Maybe the girl scouts should include boys.
Walt July 19, 2012 at 01:37 PM
The Coalition of African-American Pastors has come out very strongly against obama's flip flop on gay marriage and his sudden election year support of it. Where is yours and the media's outrage towards them?
Felicia July 19, 2012 at 01:48 PM
What about scholarships or college admissions that are focused on a particular demographic? That's not discrimination?
NoName July 19, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Nice to see the freedom of speach is heavily censured by the Patch. I had two comments that were removed. Why? There was nothing but, my opinion involved. Nothing homophobic or racist and nothing profane. So lets see if this even makes it in. This is a perfect example of the liberal media deciding what is best for everyone and stiffling descenting opinion. Very American!!
Joseph Coe July 19, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Thanks for commenting everyone! Marty what was the research methodology of the MSN Poll?--- I would assume it can't be generalized to the whole United States population in other words: its not statistically relevant. Walt- the NAACP, a pillar of the black community came out in support of Marriage of Equality--- Isn't that awesome?! Maybe I will right my next blog about that. Felicia- should we do away with all nonacademic scholarships? You bringing that point up is a red herring. Different issue, different topic. All: I do know that in my life time--- I am relatively young--- this policy will change. My generation will make it right. Thanks again for reading my post and engaging in the conversation. Best, Joe
Mike July 20, 2012 at 01:18 AM
What is a "community organizer and activist"? How much does that pay and where do you apply?
NoName July 20, 2012 at 02:14 PM
Joe I am certain you have seen many of these online polls. It's put on MSN and people of all races, creeds, and colors are unknown to the poller and allowed to vote. Sounds fair to me. Are you questioning it becasue it doesnt fit with your opinion? There is not a target audience that I know of as in many polls who only go to certain areas or solicit opinions of those in specific groups or who frequent areas known to support the polling question's intended or desired results. So, my best answer is that it was annonymous and responded to without fear of edting like my past posts by the editors at the Patch.
NoName July 20, 2012 at 02:31 PM
Funny how I ripped Kerry Kennedy in another post and it automatically goes in without pending approval but, If I differ with the issue of Gays in Scouting or responding to Joe regarding the MSN poll that sided with the ban on Gays in scouting and Joe feels is "not statistically relevant", my comment is "pending approval" as well as the last 2 times then removed completely?? I am beginning to wonder about the legitimacy of the Patch?
Joseph Coe July 20, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Marty, I can give you 3 reasons why online polls are not statically relevant. First the respondents are not chosen randomly, they opt to take the poll those creating what statisticians call sampling error. Second, which goes a bit deeper into sampling error comes socioeconomic bias. Examples: those who have access to the internet, and those who are formally educated take the poll while their counterparts do not. Third, ethical researchers and evaluators go at great lengths to draft questions that don't force respondents in one direction or the the other. Online polls such as the one you reference can be made invalid by the primacy effect and the recency effect. This website is a great resource and helped me understand a lot of this when I took research and evaluation as well as statistics in graduate in school. http://stattrek.com/survey-research/survey-bias.aspx For your reference here is a well constructed poll, created by Gallup. Notice how they describe the methodology used. http://www.gallup.com/poll/154634/Acceptance-Gay-Lesbian-Relations-New-Normal.aspx
Joseph Coe July 20, 2012 at 10:23 PM
Hi Mike. There is a wonderful website, http://www.idealist.org/, if you are looking for employment that helps our fellow human beings. Rockland county also has wonderful agencies such as Tomorrow's Workforce etc... that can help with your resume, job search etc. In regards to what a community organizer is and salary please see: http://www1.salary.com/Community-Organizer-Salary.html. I wish you the best, Mike.
Watchdog July 28, 2012 at 07:24 PM
Marty, you are not alone. I continually experience the same issues from people that pretend to be so tolerant of the views of others.
Mike July 28, 2012 at 07:57 PM
The issue is that acceptance and tolerance have become synomous in our society. As i stated in a previous post,I believe strongly in tolerance, but that does mean I must accept a lifestye, a choice, an opinion. And yes, the Patch does selectively decide ehich comboxes are "audited".
John Taggart July 28, 2012 at 08:04 PM
Parents are very involved in making the scouts work. What if this rule is the parents wish. Can parents not decide who will mentor their kids, or take them camping.


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