May 17

Equal Scouting Summit in Grapevine, TX

2013 Equal Scouting Summit in Grapevine, TXScouts for Equality and the Inclusive Scouting Network to Support Equality at the “Equal Scouting Summit”

Next week, as the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) considers for the first time ending discrimination of gay Scouts, Scouts for Equality (SfE) and the Inclusive Scouting Network (ISN), will host the “Equal Scouting Summit.” with support from GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign. Being held across from the BSA National Meeting, the Summit is an opportunity for supporters from across the country to come together to discuss next steps in building the foundation of an inclusive BSA.

Speakers at the Summit will include Zach Wahls, Mark Noel, Jennifer Tyrrell, Greg Bourke, Will Oliver, Pascal Tessier, Dave Rice, and Dave Knapp whose personal experiences of the BSA’s discriminatory policies moved them to become leaders of the equal Scouting movement and led to the collection of more than 1.8 million Change.org petition signatures calling for an end to the BSA’s ban on gay members. Events during the Summit will include a welcome ceremony for Eagle Scout Dave McGrath and his son Army Specialist Joe McGrath as they ride into Texas and complete their 1,800-mile bike ride for equality and the culmination of the Voice of the Gay Scout project. Gay Scouts across the country have submitted letters of what they would say to the National Council voters if they had the opportunity and during the Summit those letters will be read out loud.

All events are OPEN to the press. Additional details will be released in the coming days.

WHAT: Equal Scouting Summit
WHEN: Wednesday, May 22nd – Friday, May 24th
WHERE: Great Wolf Lodge, 100 Great Wolf Drive, Grapevine, Texas
WHO: Scouts for Equality, Inclusive Scouting Network, GLAAD, Jennifer Tyrrell, Greg Bourke, Dave Rice, Dave Knapp, Will Oliver, Pascal Tessier, Eagle Scout Dave McGrath, Army Specialist Joe McGrath, Scouts, Scout Leaders, Parents & Supporters

Press Information: Members of the press can register to attend and submit requests for interviews at www.inclusivescouting.net/media/2013-summit-registration/

For more information go to www.scoutsforequality.com/summit

Full media advisory here

May 04

The Final Stretch

We’re entering the final stretch – only three more weeks until the BSA votes on a policy change at its annual meeting in Texas. And we’re going to be there.

The Inclusive Scouting Network is partnering with Scouts for Equality to hold an Equal Scouting Summit in Dallas right next to the BSA’s convention. We’ll be inviting our supporters within the BSA to meet with Scouting allies like Zach Wahls and Dave Rice, religious leaders from denominations that believe that discrimination is wrong, and many Scouts and Scouters who have been personally affected by the BSA’s discrimination. We will also be welcoming Dave and Joe McGrath as they complete their cross-country bike ride for inclusive scouting.

But we really need your help.

Specifically, we need your financial support right now more than ever. We have to cover the cost of sending representatives to the BSA’s convention and hosting events for the BSA’s voting members in addition to meeting record demand for our Inclusive Scouting Award patches and other materials. We’re 100% volunteer-run, so every dollar you can chip in goes directly towards getting our supporters and materials into the field.

Please contribute whatever you can today to our efforts. We can win this vote later this month and improve the environment for LGBT youth in Scouting, but not without your help.

Thanks!

P.S. Your donations today will not only support our efforts at the BSA’s convention this month, but will also help us field some newly created Inclusive Scouting materials in time for the summer camp season. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference – even just $20 goes a long way. So please help out as much as you can.

Apr 22

BSA Coalition Offers Alternate Resolution on Adult Members, Leaders, and Parents

A coalition of Scout leaders led by Jay Lenrow from the Northeast Region has submitted an alternate resolution to the BSA to allow units to welcome adult members, leaders, and parents regardless of sexual orientation. This resolution was delivered to the BSA this morning, the deadline for consideration at the BSA’s 2013 annual meeting next month.

Cover Letter for BSA Resolution on Adult Leadership

BSA Resolution on Adult Leadership

The relevant language from the resolution reads:

All adult applicants must possess the moral, educational, and emotional
qualities that the Boy Scouts of America deems necessary to afford positive
leadership to youth. The applicant must also be the correct age, subscribe to the
precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle (duty to God), and abide by the
Scout Oath and the Scout Law.

That each Chartered Organization of the Boy Scouts of America shall have
the right (but not be required) to grant membership to individuals who, in the best
judgment of that Chartered Organization, demonstrate behavior that exemplifies
the highest level of good conduct and respect for others in accordance with the
mission of the BSA and is consistent with the principles and teachings of that
Chartered Organization, without regard to sexual orientation.

They have asked for help in encouraging the BSA’s National Council to allow a vote on, and then vote for the resolution. You can find your local BSA council by putting your ZIP code into BSA’s web form at BeAScout.org.

Apr 19

Press Release on Proposed Policy Change

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 19, 2013

Press contacts:
Christopher Hayes (518) 466-4386
Mark Noel (603) 387-7731
Matt Comer (336) 391-9528

INCLUSIVE SCOUTING NETWORK VOICES RESERVATION AND CONCERN OVER PROPOSED GAY SCOUT POLICY

Proposed policy would maintain institutionalized discrimination, limit opportunities of openly gay Boy Scout youth

The Inclusive Scouting Network, a group of current and former members of the Boy Scouts of America founded shortly after the Supreme Court’s Boy Scouts v. Dale decision in 2000, is voicing reservation and concern over today’s proposed policy change by the Boy Scouts of America regarding gay members and leaders. The Executive Council of the Boy Scouts of America released their proposed policy today, which keeps the gay ban in place for adult leaders but would prohibit kicking out openly gay Scout youth members “on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone” [emphasis added]. The policy must be voted on at a national meeting of more than 1,400 Scout representatives in May and would not go into effect until 2014.

“We believe the proposed policy is a small step forward, but does not go nearly far enough in addressing issues of discrimination against gay Boy Scout members and leaders,” said Christopher Hayes, one of the co-founders of The Inclusive Scouting Network. “This policy maintains institutionalized discrimination, leaves open the possibility of harassment and bullying of gay youth, and continues to send the wrong message to youth members that discrimination is acceptable.”

“Under this policy, every gay Scout will eventually be kicked out — it’s only a question of when,” said Mark Noel, another co-founder of The Inclusive Scouting Network. “Allowing a 16 year old to stay and complete his Eagle is a step forward, but why would he stay when the same policy will kick him out as soon as he turns 18? The message here is that LGBT people still aren’t welcome in the BSA and have no future in Scouting.”

The proposed policy is concerning on several levels, including:
• the limitation for Scout advancement past the age of 18,
• the continued institutional message that discrimination is acceptable,
• the implication that LGBT youth don’t know what they’re doing when they come out,
• the lack of anti-bullying and anti-harassment provisions for gay youth in chartered units with anti-gay theological positions, and
• the lack of any provision granting recourse to youth denied opportunities for membership under this proposed policy.

The Inclusive Scouting Network believes the proposed policy, though deeply flawed, is better than the current policy and therefore urges representatives to the national meeting in May to pass it. However, the organization will continue working to ensure that the Boy Scouts of America will become a safe and affirming environment for all Scouts, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and religious belief. The only acceptable policy is a comprehensive national policy of non-discrimination that does not expire with age.

“The Boy Scouts of America’s proposed policy is a delaying tactic in dealing with important issues of inclusion and discrimination,” said ISN co-founder Matt Comer. “This issue will not go away, as indicated by the Scouts’ own surveys showing a majority of their own youth members ages 16-18 oppose the discriminatory policy.”

Over ten thousand people across the nation and the globe are speaking out against the Boy Scouts of America’s continued discriminatory practices by wearing the Network’s Inclusive Scouting Award. Introduced in 2002, the Inclusive Scouting Award is a small, multicolored patch designed to mimic other adult leader awards worn on the scout uniform and modeled after the “safe space” sticker programs used in high schools that research has shown to be very effective at improving the environment for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and other at-risk youth. The Inclusive Scouting Award identifies wearers as supporters of inclusive scouting and allies to Scouts and Scouters threatened with exclusion by the BSA’s discriminatory membership policies. Because the emblem has never been approved by the BSA, its motto is “You earn it by wearing it.”

The two ropes of the square knot on the Inclusive Scouting Award patch symbolize religion and sexual orientation. One rope is silver and purple – colors the BSA reserves for religious emblems. The other rope is rainbow-colored – a pattern that is representative of diversity and is used widely in LGBT communities as a symbol of pride and unity. According to reported BSA statements, the proposed change to membership policies would apply only to sexual orientation and would not change BSA’s longstanding national policy of barring all atheist, agnostic, and non-theist youth and adults from the program.

Inclusive Scouting Network
PO Box 2853
Malta, NY 12020
info@inclusivescouting.net
www.inclusivescouting.net

Press resources: http://www.inclusivescouting.net/media/

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Feb 06

BSA Postpones Any Action Until May

Today, the Boy Scouts of America announced that they are postponing until May any action on the proposal to revise their discriminatory membership policies.

The Inclusive Scouting Network has responded with the following statement:

While it is disappointing the Boy Scouts of America decided not to take any action on their national anti-gay membership and leadership policy today, we are encouraged knowing that this discussion, the first and only time national BSA leaders have openly indicated they are ready to accept gay Scouts, will continue.

Today’s action by the BSA’s National Executive Board is not a “no;” instead, it is an opportunity for Scouts and Scouters across the country, from the local level to the national level, to continue to press for positive change. We are hopeful that this process will include Scouts and Scouters who have already been subjected to discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America, and we will work diligently to highlight voices of inclusion from local units and chartering organizations across the country in the lead up to May’s national council vote.

In their first edition of the Boy Scouts Handbook in 1911, the Boy Scouts promised that “every American boy shall have the opportunity of becoming a good scout.” It is time for the Boy Scouts of America to live up to the great American ideals and principles they have embodied for more than a century by saying, “We don’t discriminate and discrimination is not okay — period.”