Jul 11

The Inclusive Scouting Award in Western Washington

There’s a great article this week from Tacoma’s News Tribune on the Inclusive Scouting Award and some of the more than 60 local parents, Scouts, and Scouters who are wearing it:

Navigating Scouting’s policy on gays

Photo credit: Dean J. Koepfler/Staff Photographer, The News Tribune (Tacoma, WA).

We’d also like to respond to something BSA’s official spokesperson was quoted as saying in the article:

A statement from national spokesman Deron Smith sent to The News Tribune on June 13 read: “This is not an official patch and represents a personal viewpoint, not Scouting.”

It’s true that this is not a BSA-sanctioned patch, but that’s precisely the point. The Boy Scouts of America, Inc. is not the same as Scouting. Scouting is a movement; BSA is a corporation.

The Scouting movement includes the values of loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courtesy, kindness, and equality that are all inconsistent with the BSA’s discriminatory membership policies.

BSA as a corporation exists to support the thousands of parents and volunteer Scouters across the country who are doing the actual work, day-to-day and week-to-week, of delivering a quality Scouting program to our nation’s youth. When BSA demands obedience like this regarding its discriminatory policies and the youth members harmed by them, it forgets who it exists to serve.

In this case, the Inclusive Scouting Award patch is not merely a “personal viewpoint.” Rather, it represents Scouting better than the BSA currently does.

Jul 05

New patch: “A New Day for Scouting”

Inclusive Scouting Award colors woven into a paracord braceletThese newly-arrived patches are based on the design for the 2013 Equal Scouting Summit recognition patches and feature the Scouts for Equality eagle logo and the Inclusive Scouting square knot logo in front of a mountain sunrise. They are fully embroidered with 13 thread colors and are 3 inches in diameter — perfect for shirt pockets.

Available now in the Inclusive Scouting Store.

May 15

In the News

Sequoyah Council BSALocal Boy Scout Council to vote against lifting gay ban (Johnson City Press) – The Sequoyah Council in East Tennessee and Southern Virginia announces its opposition to any change to the BSA’s current ban on LGBT scouts and scouters. The council’s delegates to the BSA’s annual meeting next week will vote against the proposed policy change allowing gay youth to remain in scouting.

Heritage Foundation Alleges Gays in Scouts Would Lead to More ‘Boy-on-Boy Contact’ (U.S. News & World Report)

An influential conservative advocacy group in Washington said Tuesday a vote to allow homosexuals to join the Boy Scouts of America would lead to more homosexuality and sow “moral confusion.”

During a panel discussion hosted by the Heritage Foundation, experts said a “yes” vote to allow gay boy scouts – but not gay scout leaders – was a “fatal concession” for the 103-year-old organization, and they worried the policy would lead to “increased boy on boy contact” as well as a domino effect toward allowing gay leaders in the future.

Experts Warn Boy Scouts Delegates Against Being ‘Snookered and Bamboozled’ Into Gay Vote (Christian Post) – Conservative Christian Leaders including Cathy Ruse at the Family Research Council warn of a parade of horribles if the BSA’s gay ban is partially lifted for LGBT youth.

Good Boy Scouts don’t need God (Tuscon Citizen / USA Today)

US: Lawyer tweets cartoon suggesting gay scout leaders would trick boy scouts into sex – Matt Barber at Liberty Counsel tweeted a cartoon depicting gay men as pedophiles trying to trick scouts into having sex with them. More coverage here.

May 11

Equality Riders Visit Matthew Shepard Memorial

Dave and Joe McGrath, the father-and-son Eagle Scout and Army Veteran team biking across the country for equality in scouting, stopped in Laramie, WY to pay tribute to Matthew Shepard, one of whose murderers was an Eagle Scout. CBS 5 news has their story:

KGWN –Cheyenne, WY– Scottsbluff, NE News,Weather, Sports

You can follow their journey on their Old Scout’s Promise blog or facebook page.

May 07

More on the BSA HQ Honor Ride

Joe McGrath with his bikeDave and Joe McGrath’s Old Scout’s Promise (Facebook page) continues to gain steam after they started their cross-country bike ride last week for equality in Scouting. They even have a new song, The Ride written about their journey.

Veteran, son biking 1,800 miles for gay Scouts (The Salt Lake Tribune).

Eagle Scout takes 1,800-mile stand on Scouts’ policy on gays (Idaho Statesman).

Father-son duo biking in support of gays in Scouts stop in Orem (Provo Daily Herald).

Father, son will bike from Idaho to Texas to support admitting gays into BSA (Fox News 13, Salt Lake City).

Apr 19

BSA Exec. Committee Votes to Keep Gay Ban

Breaking: The BSA Executive committee votes to keep the gay ban in place, but delay action on LGBT youth members until they hit their 18th birthday, citing internal polling showing that 50.5% of BSA councils recommend no change to existing policies.

The proposal to be voted on in May therefore will not rescind the gay ban, but will merely postpone discriminatory action against LGBT youth members until they are older.

Boy Scouts of America Membership Standards Resolution

Membership Standards Study Initiative Executive Summary

Mar 29

Host a Free Showing of “Scout’s Honor”

Poster for documentary film Scout's HonorWe now have the award-winning documentary film Scout’s Honor available on DVD for anyone willing to host a showing.

This film from 2001 tells the story of Steve Cozza, Dave Rice, Tim Curran, and James Dale and is a great way to start off a discussion of the BSA’s membership policies. It runs under an hour, and won the Audience Award at Sundance for Best Documentary.

If you can host a showing with your unit, church, charter organization or elsewhere in your council before the BSA’s vote, the Inclusive Scouting Network can send you a copy of the film on DVD (courtesy of director/producer Tom Shepard and New Day Films).

Sign up via our volunteer form and select Hosting a Showing of the Documentary Film “Scout’s Honor” as one of your areas of interest:

Volunteer to Host a Free Showing Here

View the trailer for the film

View a streaming version of the entire film (available for a limited time)

Mar 27

Venture Crew Adopts ISA to Support Gay Members

A Scouter recently included this great story with a follow-up order for 50 more Inclusive Scouting Award square knot patches for his unit (published with permission; identifying information removed):

Inclusive Scouting Award square knot on uniformThank you for sending me the first Inclusive Scouting Award badges. My co-ed Crew, about half of whom are already Eagles, took it very seriously and put it to a vote at a Green Bar meeting. They unanimously voted to wear the square knot on their uniforms. I was impressed, but warned them to think about it because there could be serious ramifications with Council if anyone took issue with their decision. They told me they were telling me as a courtesy, but it was a fait accompli – they had already decided on their own.

When I told them how impressed I was with their bravery, especially since they personally “didn’t have a horse in this race,” they all laughed at me. It turns out I was wrong about that. They politely explained that two of our scouts are gay. I had no idea, but I guess that’s how it should be. Someone’s sexual orientation doesn’t matter a whit in our program. The whole Crew was standing up as a matter of brotherhood for their fellow Scouts, and they weren’t going to stand for their friends being bullied or picked on by National.

Our charter organization had been considering ending their 40+ year sponsorship of the scouting program at the church over this issue. They recently called me into a board meeting to explain our Crew policy, so I showed them the square knot on my uniform, explained its meaning and told them this story. They were very happy to hear it and I think it restored their faith that the Scouting program works.

Mar 26

NBC’s New Normal Airs Boy Scout Episode

Tonight, NBC’s The New Normal airs its Boy Scout episode, where the character David’s membership is revoked for ‘homosexual conduct’ after other scoutmasters meet his husband, Bryan.

‘The New Normal’: Justin Bartha talks tonight’s episode on the Boy Scouts’ gay ban (Entertainment Weekly)

Episode of NBC’s The New Normal to take on Boy Scouts gay ban this week (Gay Star News)

“The New Normal” Addresses Boy Scouts’ Ban (Queerty)

Mar 25

UCC and UUA Are Officially On Board

The United Church of Christ and the Unitarian Universalist Association have officially signed on as supporters of the movement to end BSA’s gay ban.

“The United Church of Christ (UCC) has a long history of supporting social justice and affirming the worth of all God’s children, regardless of who they love. . . . ‘The BSA should honor its values of respecting the diversity of theological teachings that exist among the broad spectrum of faith groups that participate, including the UCC’s values of extravagant welcome and inclusion.’”

“As an organization of faith and spirituality, the UUA exemplifies what it means to honor the inherent worth and to nurture spiritual growth of all people. Similarly, the BSA has a long history of standing by these same guiding principles; even the father of the Scouting movement, Lord Robert Baden-Powell, said ‘the sport in Scouting is to find the good in every boy and develop it.’ By accepting all youth who are willing to live by Scouting’s principles into the BSA, we are able to follow his vision.”

Their complete statements of support are available on the Scouts for Equality web site, and kudos to our friends at SFE for their great work here.

Mar 24

Chief Scout Executive Admits that Gay Ban Must Go

Wayne Brock, the National Chief Scout Executive, told an audience at a Florida leadership conference that the BSA’s gay ban will eventually have to go.

From Scouts at crossroads in Orlando over gay ban (Orlando Sentinel):

Brock, speaking before a leadership summit by the group’s Central Florida Council, candidly admitted that, even if the policy doesn’t change, the issue will probably not go away. “We know the younger generation does not view this the same way the older generation does,” Brock said. “They don’t understand what the big deal is.”

Addressing the question of what happens if the policy stays the same, Brock said: “If you look at the demographics, in a few years we’ll revisit this again.”