6 Signs of Trouble for the Anti-Gay Boy Scouts

The Boy Scouts of America angered many this year when it decided to retain its anti-gay ban, a decision made by a small unidentified group within the organization.

The decision to still kick out openly gay members has been costly for the BSA, both financially and in PR, especially when placed alongside other recent scandals. Here are six stories that show how the Boy Scouts of America is having a bad year.

1) Intel Ensures No Funds Will Reach Boy Scouts of America — Tech giant Intel, who has never given directly to the BSA but had given $700,000 in 2010 to local scouting troops, confirmed to ThinkProgress recently that, per its corporate giving policy which places an emphasis on nondiscrimination, it would be ensuring that no further funds reached the organization, with Chief Diversity Officer Rosalind Hudnell telling ThinkProgress:

“Due to significant growth in the number of organizations funded, earlier this year we revisited our policies associated with the program, and applied new rigor that requires any organization to confirm that it adheres to Intel’s anti-discrimination policy in order to receive funding.”

2) Former Scouts Return Their Badges – A growing group of Eagle Scouts, angered by the association’s anti-gay platform, started a drive to have members return their Eagle Scout badges. Several of the letters the Eagle Scouts sent along with their badges appear on this blog. One of the letters, in part, reads:

“The BSA’s position has troubled me for many years and I have often thought of giving back my hard-earned medals. As I’ve come to know the pain GLBTQ persons face in our society – and the way the BSA perpetuates that fear and discrimination particularly among the youth – I am deeply saddened by the institutional bigotry that is inconsistent with the values I learned as a Scout.”

3) Scout Troops Defy Anti-Gay Policy — Some groups, determined to keep the positive ideals associated with being a scout alive, have decided to openly defy the ban and initiate a nondiscrimination policy for their local troops, most notably one troop from Framingham.

38 parents of children in Club Scout Pack 12 have signed a letter and sent it to the Knox Trail Council in which they say they are disappointed by the anti-gay policy and noting that they will disregard it in favor of tolerance.

Reports Boston.com:

“Pack 12 has taught us that being a scout means being inclusive, supportive, and standing up for what you believe in,” the letter reads. “We do not and never will discriminate on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation.”

The group urges Knox Trail Council to adopt a similar anti-discrimination measure.

4) Scout Staffers Quit Over Anti-Gay Firing – After Tim Griffin was fired from a Boy Scout camp near Sacramento, California, 10 staff members quit the camp because, while officials claimed the 22-year-old was fired because he refused to follow clothing regulations, the staffers said the firing of the the young Scout was clearly because officials had realized he was openly gay.

5) Allegations that the Boy Scouts of America Shielded Child Abusers – A review of some 1,600 internal files dated from 1971 and 1991 that were obtained by the Los Angeles Times has shown that the organization may, in as many as 400 cases, have turned a blind eye to allegations of child abuse and never reported the offenders, one of whom was identified as having a “life-long” pattern of offending.

The LA Times also claims that while in some cases the BSA acted within the law, there is cause to suspect that its actions in other cases, where the Association appeared to have actively shielded suspected offenders, may have infringed on state law.

So the BSA will throw out gay people for not adhering to what they believe is a strict moral standard but, if these allegations are true, would work to shield child abusers.

6) The BSA Made an Enemy of George Takei — George Takei, our favorite sci-fi stalwart and master of Internet memes, was once a proud member of the Scouts. When earlier this year the Association acted to kick out several members, all because they became aware that said members were openly gay, and despite their long years of service, George Takei took to his blog to voice his protest. Later, he donned his Scout uniform and wore it as a show of solidarity for LGBT scouts in the NYC pride parade alongside a den mother who was kicked out simply because she is a lesbian.

What is interesting is that, while of course the Supreme Court has previously ruled the Boy Scouts of America can, as a private member organization, ban gay scouts, it seems the public’s change in opinion on gay rights and the grass-roots level opposition against the BSA over its continued practice could in time make the BSA’s position untenable.


Related Reading:

The Boy Scouts of America’s Environmental Hypocrisy

What Boy Scouts Can Learn from Girl Scouts

Boy Scouts Kept Confidential Files on Pedophiles

Image used under the Creative Commons Attribution License with thanks to Prayitno.


Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

Make your own religion. Make your own troop. Just leave Jesus and us out of it.

Christopher M.
Christopher M.5 years ago

Not openly gay but sexually active is the issue. When you join a relugious scout troop or church you
a. Except when married in accordance with acripture keep your legs closed
B. Or accept the hounding by Christians because they watch each others' bacjs
c. Or get kicked out, finally, said Apostle Paul

And churches are tax exempt for having rules and kicking out bad company among its members.

That is the issue. Not hey I feel like this, but whether or not you do this.

Beth M.
Beth M5 years ago

Discrimination has no place in America or the world. Glad that they're losing donations.

Past Member
Past Member 5 years ago

@ Vick P. - ACTUALLY, the LGBT community is well-known for it's inclusion of everyone - homo- or heterosexual. "They can not force us to approve their choice and act like there is no difference" But you're all for straight people forcing their views on gay people, obviously. That's fine by you. There is no difference between a homosexual child and a heterosexual child. Why do people always assume that because someone is gay they are attracted to EVERYONE of their gender? Do you fancy everyone of the opposite sex? Unlikely - why would it be any different for those attracted to members of the same sex? "It is uncomfortable for straight boys to be so close to gay boys" - Yes, because "coming out" is the easiest thing in the world for gay teenagers. They do not suffer from inner turmoil, some being driven to self-harm and suicide by the conventions around them.

Whether nail varnish "fits" a certain scene or not is neither here-nor-there really. "Give the parents CHOICE" - it's funny how ONLY the parents of heterosexual children get this choice, NOT those of gay kids. "All organisations should be free to honour their principles as long as they do not endanger anyone" - do you not think that discrimination and encouraging young children to be prejudiced against certain groups can endanger people later on? Just because they do not break the law does not make their actions acceptable. What about society and a person's intuition for right and wrong?

@ Junaita G - do the scriptu

Juanita Gilboricard
Juanita Ricard5 years ago

It is because good folks do not take a stand for what is right that evil has its way. We are not to move with the times-we are to remain faithful to God's Word, regardless of what society does.

Carl O.
Carl O5 years ago

As a former Cub Scout and the son of an Eagle Scout the BSA's stance on inclusivity and loyalty to gay members is disheartening. On the up side the Eagle Scouts who are turning in their medals and those who quit in a show of solidarity with gay members who are being drummed out of the scouts shows that the boy scouts did teach loyalty it is sad that only the scouts and not the leadership learned the lesson. In cases of disaster gays like straights should be taught to "Be Prepared."

Kerry Hunt
Kerry H5 years ago

Our local troops do NOT ban gay scouts.

Anjali J.
Anjali J5 years ago

Such organisations need to move with the times or risk being left behind; the Girl Scouts of America realised this and they have no such ban in place, accepting people from the LGBTQIA community into their ranks. The BSA has put itself in an untenable position - it will not be able to maintain this ban indefinitely as the tide of public opinion is moving away from divisive bans such as the one they've enacted.

This can only end one of two ways - a. they lift the ban, or b. the BSA's bigotry makes it a thing of the past as its numbers dwindle away to nothing.

Jaime S.

This is how it's supposed to work...not through lawsuits or having judges order organizations to conform to societal standards. If we don't play ball with them then they will either disband or change because they won't have a choice. We, as people, have great power...and it lies within us, not in our government.

Holly Lawrence
Holly Lawrence5 years ago

The Boy Scouts consider being gay as the cardinal sin. I never have supported this organization because they are bigoted which I have seen first-hand. Money talks so stop your support of the Boy Scouts if you are unhappy with them !