May 21

Veteran professional Scouter: Shame on Boy Scouts for abandoning gay youth in need

Bruce “Trip” McMillan, a 37-year veteran professional Scouter currently living in Charlotte, N.C., has a message for the Boy Scouts of America: He supports the proposed resolution on gay youth members, and you should, too.

“Shame on us as a movement,” McMillan says, “if we continue to abandon ‘one of our boys’ at perhaps the most difficult moment of their life.”

The former professional Scouter took to Facebook on May 20 to tell his friends and family that he supports the Boy Scouts of America’s proposed gay youth membership policy, just three days before the group’s National Council is set to vote on a new membership policy on gay youth.

McMillan, a self-described “foot stomping, glory halleluiah, [sic] shouting, Bible believing, Born again Evangelical Christian,” also has a message about discrimination and exclusion for his fellow Christians: “EVANGELICAL FRIEND, this is so wrong and I struggle deeply to believe this is what God would have us do,” he says.

The Inclusive Scouting Network believes McMillan’s message, which we’ve reprinted in its entirety below, represents the views of many current and former Scouts, Scouters, Scout parents and friends of Scouting. We don’t necessarily agree with everything he has to say; such is to be expected in a movement as large and as diverse as Scouting. Yet, we respect McMillan’s unique perspectives, his diversity of thought and his willingness to stand up for gay youth. We know there are many people just like McMillan who hold sincere personal and religious beliefs on matters of sexuality and who are also able to understand the importance of protecting young people from exclusion and discrimination.

In short, McMillan exemplifies the best and truest values of the Scout Oath and Law.

McMillan retired as the Area 4 director for the Northeast Region of the Boy Scouts of America in 2012. A Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, McMillan’s Scouting career began in 1975 as a district executive in Wayne, N.J, after which he served as Scout executive in councils Maryland, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

Click here to read McMillan’s full message of support for the proposed gay youth membership policy.

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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 08

The Voice of the Gay Scout

For the past two months, BSA leadership has continually asserted that all parties have had their voices heard concerning the upcoming vote to allow openly gay scouts in the program. However this couldn’t be farther from the truth. There is one group, affected by this policy more than any other demographic, and strictly forbidden from sharing their experiences in dealing with the policy. That’s right: gay scouts, the only group directly touched by this policy, have been forced into silence.

Scout with baseball bat and gloveThe Inclusive Scouting Network is aware of this issue, and is launching a project called “The Voice of the Gay Scout”. We’re accepting letters, about one to three paragraphs in length, from gay scouts who cannot otherwise share their opinion on this policy without facing expulsion from the program. These letters will then be read by Scout allies, in uniform, to the press to ensure your voice is heard before the National Council votes in May. Share how this policy has affected you, your friends, and your values. This is your chance to tell the BSA leadership to their face how you’ve felt, and what repealing the ban would mean to you.

I have talked to many gay scouts over the last few months, and heard heartbreaking stories about what this policy has done. Broken friendships, shattered confidence, being forced into a life of lies an dishonesty, and in dire cases, the taking of one’s own life. Personal stories will create more change on this issue than any advocacy or advertising ever could. Reach out to other gay scouts you know, and urge them to send us their letter.

Letters can be sent to voice@inclusivescouting.net. If you’re interested in being an ally and reading one of the letters at the Equal Scouting Summit in Dallas, May 21-24, please email us as well! Thank you all for your hard work and dedication, please keep up the pressure, we’re just weeks away from victory!

May 07

In the News

Dave and Joe on the roadFather-son duo biking in support of gays in Scouts stop in Orem – The McGrath family is no stranger to discrimination against gay people, especially those in their family whom they love dearly. Dave and Joe McGrath, a father son duo, are riding 1,800 miles by bicycle from Idaho to Texas in order to take a stand against gay discrimination and with hopes to save the lives of young men who are gay. They BSA is going to hold a vote on May 23rd to determine whether or not to accept gay youth into the Boy Scouts, a change in the way they have operated for the past several decades. The McGraths are riding mainly unsupported and are inviting any supporters to join them riding or in donations.

Follow their daily updates and support their journey at Old Scouts Promise.

Rick Perry: Boy Scouts Must Resist ‘Flavor Of The Month’ Pro-Gay Views – Governor Rick Perry continues to speak out against LGBT equality in the Boy Scouts. In this article he equates the shift in public sentiment to pro gay as “pop culture” and “flavor of the month” type of thinking. He also goes further to compare the fight for gay people’s rights as being similar to the fight to end slavery, but ends up getting some key facts straight.

“The fact is, this is a private organization. Their values and principles have worked for a century now, and for pop culture to come in and try to tear that up because it just happens to be the flavor of the month, so to speak, and to tear apart one of the great organizations that have served millions of young men … that is just not appropriate,” Perry said during a discussion on the Family Research Council’s “Stand With Scouts Sunday”

Religion Beyond the Right – Ever since the announcement was made by the BSA that it will be voting on a proposal to lift the gay ban on youth within the organization, religions across the spectrum have spoken out. From the far right who denounce any change in current policies, to the middle and one left to more liberal religions who want the entire ban lifted, it seems that one issue has been forgotten. According to BSA bylaws, every religions teachings are to be treated equally. However, to date, the BSA’s actions have not adhered to its own policy. With the vote coming it would be wise for the BSA to listen to each religions teachings and take them into consideration for the vote.

Boy Scout Policy on Gays Doesn’t Go Far Enough, Says L.A. Group – The Western Los Angeles County Council of the BSA announced that it believes the proposed amendment to allow only gay youth should be amended to include gay leaders, volunteers and staff as well. This council believes that the proposal just does not go far enough in the fight for equality of LGBT people.

Rick Perry: ‘Gay’ Boy Scouts? ‘Not on my watch’ – Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, has joined forces with the Family Research Council to try and influence the proposal to allow gay youth to be members, to be voted down. Perry also stated that he stands by, and hopes the American people will say, “Not on My Watch”, to the proposal.

Rep. Steve Palazzo Claims Boy Scouts are ‘Bullied, Extorted’ for Banning Gays (Video) – Republican Steve Palazzo also joined other supporters Sunday with the Family Research Council’s “Stand With Scouts” webcast where he stated that he believes the Boy Scouts of America is being bullied, harassed and extorted for banning gays. Palazzo also went so far as to ask for the removal of all “agitators” from these discussions, but did not identify or explain how he thinks this would be carried out.

“The Boy Scouts are actually being bullied worse than any group or organization that has ever been bullied before,” said Rep. Palazzo. “They’ve been intimidated, extorted for corporate funds, contributions.”

“They are being harassed and, at the end of the day, they are also being ridiculed by some in the liberal media. And so if I can do anything, I’m going to lend my voice and my strength to them and tell them to stand strong [against allowing gays].”"

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.

Sep 11

In the News

BSA: Stop discriminating – Op-ed by Rev. Robert Bachelder, minister and president of the Worcester Area Mission Society, United Church of Christ.

Parents also need to speak up. Scouting played a vital role in our family but my wife, a former Cub Scout volunteer, and I agree we would not enroll our son in a troop today. The BSA’s position is contrary what we try to stand for in every other area of life. We would make an exception for a troop that publicly repudiates the BSA policy and reaches out to gay youth. A boy would learn in such a setting how to work and even fight for social justice.

New Jersey senator declines Boy Scout recognition due to policy disagreement - New Jersey State Senator Ray Lesniak declined an award from a Boy Scouts group in North Jersey because of BSA’s anti-gay policies.

In Scouting, tolerance is a two-way street – Editorial by a writer who compares homosexuality to “adultery, drunkenness, stealing, gossip, etc.” and then complains because his beliefs are criticized:

But tolerance goes both ways. Unfortunately, respecting the deep spiritual beliefs of people of faith is no longer tolerated by those advocating for the gay rights agenda. For not agreeing with this agenda, we are labeled hypocrites and bigots. But if we were to throw similar responses back, we would be accused of discrimination and being intolerant.

Opinion: Discrimination, homophobia distract from Boy Scouts’ mission – Author argues that, despite BSA’s claims that allowing LGBT people to join would be a “distraction” from scouting’s mission, that the real distraction is the BSA’s dogged determination to discriminate.

The Boy Scout Law says Scouts are to be brave — “He has the courage to stand for what he thinks is right even if others laugh at or threaten him”; reverent — “He respects the beliefs of others”; kind — “He treats others as he wants to be treated”; and friendly — “A Scout is a friend to all. He seeks to understand others. He respects those with ideas and customs other than his own.”

Until the BSA gets it right, Scouts everywhere should follow their oath and rebel.

The American homosexualist movement – Author waxes apocalyptic over support for LGBT civil rights, including pressures on the Boy Scouts of America.

Loving Men: Jesus, Homophobia and Male Spirituality – Rev. Jarrett Kerbel, Rector of Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Philadelphia, opens a piece by talking about his experiences growing up gay in the Boy Scouts.

The “Atlantic” Editor: ‘Eradicate the Fags’ – Another absurd rant based on a misreading of this piece in The Atlantic.

9-Year-Old Quits Boy Scouts Over Gay Ban – More on the Cub Scout in Maine who decided to leave because of BSA’s anti-gay policies.

Sep 04

In the News

Rumors swirl over fate of Redlands’ Boy Scout Pack 24 – More on the possibility that BSA will revoke the charter of Pack 24 because of their refusal to discriminate.  Pack 24 recently stated publicly that they were going to operate inclusively and welcome everyone:

“Scouting has one policy that applies to all troops and councils. It is a requirement that all units conduct the Scouting program pursuant to the policies and guidelines of the Boy Scouts of America, and charter agreements are not negotiable or subject to modification,” the organization said.
. . . .
“Anytime we’re aware of any inconsistency in the local administration of a Scouting policy, we work with the local council to reiterate the policy and ensure its compliance with local leaders,” they added. “If a unit chooses not to abide by a policy of the BSA, the charter is subject to revocation.”

A valuable lesson about inclusiveness – Letter to the editor supporting Pack 24.

Eagle Scouts return medals over group’s ban on gay members – A detailed piece in the Baltimore Sun describing several people’s decision to return medals.

“The Boy Scouts always teach citizenship and leadership and a willingness to be of service to others, but when they come back with a policy that states that they are unwilling to contribute to the development of certain classes of individuals, I think they do a lot of harm to their own message,” [openly gay Eagle Scout Steven Colella] said. “Instead of teaching people to be leaders and to be positive members of society, they are teaching them to be discriminatory.”
. . . .
“I’m not a gay activist, I don’t have a ton of gay friends, I’m not out there trying to change the world for homosexuals,” [children's author and father Aaron Becker] said. “I’m just a regular guy who saw this was out there and thought, ‘Get with the program, Scouts.’”

Proposed Scout ban draws backlash – “An effort to add an anti-discrimination clause to a section of town policy has left one selectman on the receiving end of homophobic rants and a death threat.”

Boy Scouts: Fighting bias from inside – Editorial at the Boston Globe that misleadingly states that the Boston Minuteman Council added sexual orientation to their non-discrimination policy in 2001.  They did, but then were forced back into compliance by BSA’s national headquarters and turned down applications from openly gay scouters.