I first wrote about this topic in July http://newcity.patch.com/blog_posts/and-morally-straight, where I examined how the scout's anti-gay policy is totally ridiculous and harmful.
Today, the momentum for change continues. Yay! Countless Eagle Scouts have returned their badges in protest; some community organizations, local municipalities and places of worship are not permitting the scouts to meet in their spaces; and prominent corporate sponsors are looking to divest. And there is great excitement about the proposed steps the Boy Scouts of America might take to work towards ending their discriminatory policy. Yet, many of us are not thrilled about the proposal.
The Boy Scouts of America are trying to decide this issue by leaving it up to individual troops. At first this sounds wonderful---- for the first time in history we might have some troops that will allow lesbian parents to have children in the scouts, allow openly gay troop leaders and permit openly gay scouts to earn their badges. On the flip-side, this means that there will still be troops that are causing harm, and because of the proposed change, are now actively enforcing a politic based on the devaluing of our LGBT neighbors and children, by choosing to not allow inclusion.
I ask this: why was it OK for the scouts, as an institution, to have a policy that banned gay inclusion totally (even when troops and regions didn’t want it banned) but not OK to discuss a policy that clearly states that it is against the values of the scouts to discriminate. While many call this incrementalism progress, I throw the metaphorical challenge flag. How would we feel as a society, if all our private institutions had policies, in writing, which state that they can selectively discriminate against groups of people who are historically and currently marginalized?
I appreciate the national dialogue we are having. But I think we need to work harder. I call on us to ask ourselves if this is really the change we want to see.
In my opinion, The Boy Scouts of America owe it to themselves to do the right thing and end discrimination, period.