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 23

In the News – Voting Day

Vote on Boy Scouts’ gay ban brings out protesters from both sides – At an Equal Scouting Summit yesterday the message was this step must be passed, but the fight is fr from over. Speaker, Mark Noel, a Scoutmaster who was ousted in 2000 for being gay stated,

“those who accuse gays of injecting sexuality into Scouting failed to recognize that bringing his husband to a Scouting event was no different from bringing a wife or children. “That is the double standard, that is the discrimination, that is what has to change,” Noel, 43, said. Noel helped found the Inclusive Scouting Network, with its own rainbow badge, which he encouraged opponents of the ban to keep wearing this week, even after the vote. “Keep wearing it until the day comes when we don’t have to wear it anymore,” Noel said. “That day has not come yet.”

Boy Scout leaders to vote on lifting gay ban – As two opposing sides gather in Grapevine, TX, the BSA’s official executives are beginning a council meeting to decide whether or not to pass a proposal that would end the ban on gay youth in Scouting. Those opposed to lifting the ban “took one last stand” and held signs as people drove into the resort. In favor of lifting the ban, folks were gathered across the street at another hotel. Speakers such as Dave McGrath, Zach Wahls and Mark Noel discussed why the ban must end and shared their personal stories.

Vote on gay Scouts comes at emotional moment
On Thursday the council members of the BSA set to vote on the proposal to end discrimination against gay youth in the BSA.

“Obama urged the organization to reverse the ban before a national executive board meeting that took place in February, and two high-profile board members — the CEOs of AT&T and Ernst & Young — said they would work from within to change the policy.”

Boy Scouts set to vote on lifting gay youth ban – Opposers and supporters alike are gathered in Grapevine, TX to stand up for their side. Opposition of the proposed lift on the gay ban on youth in the Scouts say that lifting the ban will decimate the Scouts. Those in favor of lifting the ban such as Zach Wahls stated.

“What we’re seeing is a conversation” on gays in scouting that activists have wanted for years, Wahls said. “That being said, we want full inclusion — ending the ban on gay youth and leaders.”

May 22

Press Conference Audio: Inclusive Scouting Network & Scouts For Equality, Change.org

Two press conferences were held today with a variety of speakers including former Scouts, current Scouts, former and current Scout leaders and parents, straight allies and advocacy organizations working on the proposed Boy Scouts of America policy on gay youth membership.

We’ve posted the audio of the two press events below.

Inclusive Scouting Network & Scouts for Equality Press Conference
Click here for .mp3 (approx. 38 mins.)

Speakers: Brad Hankins, Scouts For Equality; Zach Wahls, Scouts For Equality; Dave Rice, Inclusive Scouting Network; David Knapp, Scouting For All; Matt Comer, Inclusive Scouting Network; Mark Noel, Inclusive Scouting Network; Alex Derr, Scouts For Equality & Inclusive Scouting Network; Eric Hay, local Dallas Boy Scout.

Change.org & GLAAD Press Conference
Click here for .mp3 (approx. 36 mins.)

Speakers: Rich Ferraro, GLAAD; Jennifer Tyrrell, Cub Scout mother; Zach Wahls, Scouts For Equality; Greg Bourke, Boy Scout father; Will Olver, gay Eagle Scout; Pascal Tessier, gay Boy Scout; Mark Anthony, Change.org.

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.

Continue reading

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 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 10

In the News

United Way logoEditorial: United Way walks fine line on Boy Scout issue – The United Way of Greater Lafayette has found a way to make it through a protest that it adopt a stronger non discrimination policy and quit funding the Boy Scouts of America unless they changes their anti gay policies. In response the United Way did adopt a stronger non discrimination policy, falling just one class short of Purdue’s own policy. It also says it now offers a way for donors to select or deselect for their money to be given or denied to certain groups that the United Way gives money to. Is it just for show or does it really make a difference in where the United Ways funds go?

Most Americans support lifting ban on gay Boy Scouts

“In the new poll, 63 percent of Americans support allowing gay scouts to join, and the public opposes the plan to continue to ban gay adults from Boy Scout leadership by a 56 to 39 percent margin. The results contrast with a USA Today/Gallup poll last year, where only 42 percent said openly gay adults should be able to serve as leaders.

University professor: Allowing gay Boy Scouts will put them ‘up for grabs’ by ‘sexual predators’ and communists – Jerry Falwell founded Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia and his son nows run it. He has said that ‘gays’ were responsible for the September 11th attacks and accused the Teletubbies for promoting the ‘gay lifestyle’. Professor Reisman responded,

“Yeah, certainly there is because when you have an enslaved population which sexual addiction and sexual pornography creates, a slave population, when you have a slave population, when you have people whose focus is by no means on anything upper air, they’ve given up their religion, you can’t have two masters, they are controlled by their sexual lust, when you have that kind of population, that kind of population will do anything to fulfill their lusts, their interests and they have no compunction about forcing other people to adhere to that.”

May 08

In the News

US: LA Boy Scouts chapter breaks with national policy and wants to include gay leaders – On Tuesday, the 14th largest Scouting chapter, The Western Los Angeles County branch of the BSA announced its stance for the upcoming vote in May. This chapter has over 14,000 members and has asked national BSA to not only lift its ban on gay youth members, but to all leaders, volunteers and staff as well.

“The council declared its position on Tuesday, and called for a “true and authentic inclusion policy”. In doing so, the Los Angeles council joined at least two other branches in New York state, which have pushed for full inclusion of gay scouts and leaders.”

Middle TN Boy Scouts council to vote against allowing openly gay members – Making its announcement Tuesday, The Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America will be voting against the proposal to lift the BSA’s ban on openly gay youth membership in Scouting. The Council stated that it surveyed around 3,000 people and 66% said they were against allowing gay youth into Scouting. Also, they report that 70% of people surveyed said that a straight Scout and a gay Scout should not be allowed in a tent together.

“Sexuality’s not a part of our program,” Travis said. “The parents in Middle Tennessee have said to us, ‘Don’t bring it into Scouting.’ ”

Dave and Joe on the road in UtahFather And Son Bike 1,800 Miles To Protest Boy Scouts – Dave McGrath and son Joe are cycling 1,800 miles across America in support of equality for gay people. The decision to make this ride was made after the BSA announced plans to vote on a proposal to allow gay youth into Scouting, but continue to ban adults aged 18 and over in all forms. Dave McGrath has a twin brother who is gay as well as two gay sons he is riding for. Joes is riding for his family, but says he is also riding for the men and women he served with who were affected by the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy of the military. Dave McGrath has vowed, “to be silent no more”.

Follow their story daily at Old Scouts Promise.