Invisible this week as Boy Scout leaders vote whether to welcome openly gay Scouts: The Voters

With Boy Scout leaders preparing to vote Thursday on whether to accept openly gay Scouts, protesters on both sides are … Continued

With Boy Scout leaders preparing to vote Thursday on whether to accept openly gay Scouts, protesters on both sides are descending upon the suburb of Grapevine, Tex.

People from various perspectives who are interested in the vote outcome – scheduled to be announced around 5 p.m. Dallas-Fort Worth time – will be visible at marches, rallies and likely non-stop press availabilities. Expect to see Scouts and their families, adult leaders and people who have no direct connection with Scouting but are revved up about whether openly gay Scouts affirm or mar Boy Scout values.

On the table: a resolution to end the Scouts’ longtime ban on openly gay members. The existing ban on openly gay adult leaders would remain.

What you likely won’t see: the people making the decision. That’s because the names of the 1,400-member National Council – leaders from around the country — are kept confidential. The majority of people voting have not made their names, nor how they plan to vote, public.

“It’s not that their names are secret, it’s just that I can’t release information about volunteers without their permission,” said Aaron Chusid, a spokesman for the National Capital Area Council, which serves 56,000 youth in the Washington region. The council (which also includes 22,000 adult volunteers) is tied for the third-largest Scout council in the United States.

Washington Post columnist Robert McCartney wrote about the anonymity issue a few days ago, noting that only two out of 10 members of the Capital Area Council have agreed to release their names (not their voting plans). He said the leaders “are showing no courage at all” by remaining unknown.

There are nearly 300 councils around the country, and they pick their voting members in different ways. There’s no open vote among Scouts’ families, and that’s why people don’t even know the names of those representing them in Texas.

Polling shows a divided Scouting community, and many large groups involved in the Scouts are remaining mum – or vague – on their plans, regardless of the outcome. Earlier this week, the liaison between Scouts and the Catholic Church – one of the biggest organizations that charters troops – sent a letter that appears to show the Church will try to remain involved in Scouting even if the ban is lifted. The liaison did not respond to Post requests for clarifications. Local Catholics officials say they won’t comment until after the vote.

More on the BSA gay policy:

A Mormon view on the need for change

An Episcopalian’s call for action

The man who challenged the BSA’s gay ban to Supreme Court says ‘this decision is dead wrong.’

Catholic Church sees ‘hopeful future’ with Boy Scouts

Prepared for change: There have always been gay Boy Scouts

Poll: Most Americans support lifting ban

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    I used to chuckle when I’d go to the scout store in Rockville to pick up awards and other troop necessities. Among the uniform selection were size 52 shorts for “adult” leaders. So much for the “keep myself physicaly strong” part.
    I’d worry more about what kind of message a morbidly overweight 100 twinkie a day “adult” sends more than a fit healthy gay man.
    If the scout parade has more “jumbos” than the circus parade be concerned.

  • rdcnyc

    The boy scouts can do whatever they want, they are a private organization.

    But please, lets keep them out of schools and other governmet-funded sites. They also shouldn’t get any tax breaks. If they want to exclude due to prejudice, then fine – just don’t expect funding from US citizens

  • RogerRamjet2

    Ditto churches. People will tithe if they are believers without my forced contribution to the Westboro Baptists of the world.

  • Emily C.

    See, in countries where people don’t throw rampaging hissy fits over gays, they actually have very little incidence of troubles with openly gay leaders in charge of children.

    In other countries, men can even *gasp* be elementary school teachers without having their motives questioned.

  • larryclyons

    The boy scouts currently get some funding from the US, but a lot in goods and services – substantially reduced fees for activities in the national forests, etc.

    They accept government largesse they should have have to obey Federal Non Discrimination laws and regulation.

  • makeham98

    Many communities can cite the economic value of the service projects that scout troops perform. They provide at least as much as they receive.

  • J_Carnie

    I was a Life Scout (step below Eagle). The reality is… if openly gay boys are accepted in Scouting, it will be the end of Scouting. No straight father is sending his son on weekend trips with gay leaders and gay boys…
    Be honest…It’s Not Gonna Happen!

    Scouting has been losing ground for years….this ends it.

  • makeham98

    I’ve seen adults at summer camp dragging their oxygen around. No question, they should be banned. Not anything less. Check on one of the national leaders, his name is Tico something or other. Recently joined the BSA fitness program and dropped about 75 pounds. Lose or leave.

  • A. J.

    I don’t see the big issue here. In fact, the Scouts should extend the ban and keep Blacks, Hispanics, Jews and Asians out as well. They should also modify their uniforms and wear arm bands. Hell, the troop leaders should find some white sheets and make new uniforms as well.

  • Keelah Sentry

    The Boy Scouts are a bigoted, religion-based, tax-exempt organization that teaches children to hate others who are unlike them. Period.

  • Keelah Sentry

    The Scouts’ refusal to admit people who do not believe in a Christian god might have something to do with it too. Life scouts, Eagle scouts, it’s all the same brainwashing. It’s a bigoted politics of exclusion that the BSA perpetuates and foments.

  • jay2drummer

    Really? No straight fathers will send his son on weekend trips with gays? I know for a fact that this a false statement. Especially given despite all the child molestation that’s gone on in the years since the gay ban was instituted hasn’t stopped fathers from sending their kids on the Scouts. Fortunately, most straight fathers are more aware of the facts than you are.

  • jay2drummer

    And how does ending the ban on gays undo any of the good work? All it does is INCREASE the good Scouts can do, since you have more boys doing good and fewer boys being taught harmful bigotry.

  • Keelah Sentry

    If the BSA is a private organization, then they can fork over 15 or 20 billion dollars for the public lands to which they have exclusive use. Try walking through a boy scout camp in a state forest here in Illinois, and the scoutmasters will browbeat and harass you as if they owned the place.

  • AluminumFalcon

    They also teach them knots.

  • armyofone

    If a parent sues the BSA because THEY the parents are bigoted and are horrified that their little Johnny turns out to be gay or bisexual, having learned this on a weekend camping trip, how does this protect the BSA from lawsuits? That’s what the issue is for the BSA and its leadership.

  • AluminumFalcon

    Boy Scouts are great for our country, and will be great for the country the gays are building. It’s win win.

  • jtaylorhou

    I am an Eagle Scout and I learned a TON of invaluable skills in scouting including swimming, lifesaving, orienteering, rowing, canoeing, fishing, and on and on and on. There were a number of gay scouts in our troop and we learned to respect them, get along with them, and value them. And they got their Eagle badges becasue they stayed in the closet…but we knew better. It’s time we let these kids out of the closet AND give them the adult role models they so desperately need not only in Scouting, but in all walks of life.

  • J_Carnie

    I think you missed my point. I’m not saying I’m against gays in Scouting. There are already gays in Scouting. By making a big deal about it. Human nature will label it the gay scouts. It will be done… finished..

    Sure… some metro dads will think its cool to send your kids there to show the world their diversity, but hello ?! it is a religious-based group! It’s like telling the Catholic Hospital to perform abortions. Why do you insist on abolishing religion?

  • jtaylorhou

    They are one and the same.

  • jtaylorhou

    Your are dead wrong….see my post above.

  • jtaylorhou

    All of my elementary school teachers were by all accounts heterosexual women and not one of them made a pass at me.

  • jay2drummer

    Then the lawsuit would be dismissed before trial, since there are no grounds for it (just like schools can’t be sued for allowing gay teachers or students when a kid turns out to be gay).

  • FrenchChef

    According to the American Psychological Association, “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.” Gregory Herek, a professor at the University of California, Davis, who is one of the nation’s leading researchers on prejudice against sexual minorities, reviewed a series of studies and found no evidence that gay men molest children at higher rates than heterosexual men.

    Anti-gay activists who make that claim allege that all men who molest male children should be seen as homosexual. But research by A. Nicholas Groth, a pioneer in the field of sexual abuse of children, shows that is not so. Groth found that there are two types of child molesters: fixated and regressive. The fixated child molester — the stereotypical pedophile — cannot be considered homosexual or heterosexual because “he often finds adults of either sex repulsive” and often molests children of both sexes. Regressive child molesters are generally attracted to other adults, but may “regress” to focusing on children when confronted with stressful situations. Groth found that the majority of regressed offenders were heterosexual in their adult relationships.

    The Child Molestation Research and Prevention Institute notes that 90% of child molesters target children in their network of family and friends. Most child molesters, therefore, are not gay people lingering outside schools waiting to snatch children from the playground, as much religious-right rhetoric suggests.

  • FrenchChef

    Some anti-gay ideologues cite the American College of Pediatricians’ opposition to same-sex parenting as if the organization were a legitimate professional body. In fact, the so-called college is a tiny breakaway faction of the similarly named, 60,000-member American Academy of Pediatrics that requires, as a condition of membership, that joiners “hold true to the group’s core beliefs … [including] that the traditional family unit, headed by an opposite-sex couple, poses far fewer risk factors in the adoption and raising of children.” The group’s 2010 publication Facts About Youth was described by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Association as non-factual. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health, was one of several legitimate researchers who said Facts misrepresented their findings. “It is disturbing to me to see special interest groups distort my scientific observations to make a point against homosexuality,” he wrote. “The information they present is misleading and incorrect.”

  • FrenchChef

    Face the fact, army, sexual orientation is inborn and unchanggeable.

  • FrenchChef

    Sorry, there’s just no point your repeating the same lies again and again and again.

  • FrenchChef

    Something tells me army is about to post anti-gay lies from the fake “American College of Pediatricians.” The REAL group is the American ACADEMY of Pediatricians.

  • armyofone

    The Scouts have enough experience with this to know that they don’t want to make an already bad problem worse. And with that I end my blogging for the day.

  • FrenchChef

    “Gays in ancient Greece and Rome used to have sex with boys all the time.”

    Nope, that was young men, and most older men did that. There was no artificial divide then because there was no homophobia then.

  • jake14

    We don’t want to be like those liberal socialist communist fascist european countries!

  • FrenchChef

    There’s just no point in your continuing these lies. I have even documented your failure to fool Americans with these lies. Didn’t you see the fact that Americans outnumber anti-gays 100 to 1?

  • FrenchChef

    No matter how desperately some fool anti-gay posts that same lie again and again, the simple fact is LGBT Americans don’t do that.

  • FrenchChef

    ” And with that I end my blogging for the day.”

    At least under that screen name. I see you used another screen name earlier.

  • gofishing

    When I was involved in scouting in the ’70’s it was an organization centered around teaching boys to be responsible citizens through camping, canoeing, backpacking, and related activities. Political issues were not part of the program. Scouting was based on general judeo-christian principles. Scouting has always been a positive influence for the boys and a benefit to the parents and society. Any organization has to address issues as times and attitudes change which is what the scouts are grappling with today. The scouts record indicates that they have been a positive in our society for the last 100 years and are worthy of being given the benefit of the doubt as they work through the issue.

  • rhc52

    Most of the scouts I have known in my 15 years as a leader have gone through scouting with the same group of friends from age 6 or 7 until they turned 18. I am certain that if one of them came out as gay the others would stand with him and defend him from anyone who tried to make an issue of it. The Scout Law says, “A Scout is Loyal.” That’s who they are. I am proud of the scouts but not the national leadership.

  • JudgeRoyBean

    Eligibility starts and ends with the first word, “Boy”. If you’re a boy, you’re in. Seems pretty simple.

  • rdcnyc

    so they’d let Boy George in?
    Even though he’s out?

  • Mankato58

    To get a little more exacting than JudgeRoyBean:

    The private organization which goes by the name Boy Scouts of America has a list of criteria the pertains to its membership and operation. If you do not meet, agree with, or choose to follow that criteria you are free to go find another organization to join or support.

    I do not understand why people join a successful organization and then set out to change it.

  • jay2drummer

    Because many of the boys harmed by the ban on homosexuals joined before they hit puberty, and only became aware of their same sex attraction after they had been in Scouts for years (as a Cub and Boy Scout in many cases). In the case of leaders, it largely stems from their children having friends in the Scouts and wanting to be with them, and their parents (in these cases homosexuals) wanting to be involved to help make sure their children have as good an experience as possible. Or else they were members of Scouts years ago, before the ban was implemented in the 90s.

  • rrogers598

    Sometimes you try to change an organization because you care about it and want it to me its highest ideals.

  • Mankato58

    So what is the answer to the many members and their families who joined and remain within the parameters of the organization. Do you ignore that the organization meets their needs?

  • snarkk

    Girl Scouts is not discriminatory in this way. That’s why it gets far more secular and corporate and business support, whereas the Boy Scouts is far more dependent on religious group support.
    GS policy:
    “Girl Scouts of the USA and its local councils and troops value diversity and inclusiveness and do not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability,”

  • jay2drummer

    How does ending the discrimination do anything to keep BSA from continuing to meet the needs of anyone else?

  • itsthedax

    Putting issues like this up for a vote is absolutely wrong.

    This vote is based on the notion that it is perfectly OK to discriminate against a minority, if a majority of voters says its OK. That is fundamentally evil, and un-American.

    As a private organization, the boy scouts can exclude gays, But they can do so only if they forego any government sponsorship and stop any use of taxpayer funded resources.

  • Mankato58


    How does changing the values many believe serve them better?

  • jay2drummer

    Because it teaches them that not everyone shares their values and that you have to accept those you disagree with, rather than wrapping yourself in a bubble of discrimination. It also takes Scouting back to its original ideals, before they were pressured to change them in the first place. Because it allows boys who are gay to feel comfortable, to trust their troop, and allows them to be honest. Because a true Scout is courteous and kind to all. Because Scouts have an obligation to be mentally awake, not closed-minded. Because a true Scout should always be prepared, and that includes when they have to co-exist with gays. Once you reach the work world, you will be working alongside many different people, including, in many cases, homosexuals. Preparing Boys to be leaders and responsible men in this world is what BSA is all about. THAT is how it serves them better.