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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Ethics and Politics » Gay scout ban (Page 1)

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Author Topic: Gay scout ban
smittenkitten
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I was scanning the articles at glaad.com and I read about a case that was equally unfair and disturbing.

A little over a year ago, the supreme cour ruled that the Boy Scouts of America has the right to impose a gay ban on their group.

The ban stopped any gay boys, as well as gay leaders from joining the group.

In my opinion the ruling was extremely unfair and discriminatory. What disturbed me was the way this group of people who are meant to represent justice could be so prejudeced. Should people like this be allowed so much power?

I thought this might make an interesting discussion.

Read the GLAAD article here: http://www.glaad.org/org/publications/documents/index.html?record=2791

Let the games begin!
Winnie :0)

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Lynne
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I hate to disagree with you, but I fully support the Supreme Court's ruling. The Boy Scouts are a private group, and while it's certainly regrettable that they're so intolerant, they do have a right to choose who to admit. Were they not to have that right, it would mean that the government would have the power to force private groups to conform to its values. That would be a disturbingly powerful government. Imagine if you formed a club and the government told you who you had to accept. Imagine that your beliefs are the unpopular ones that would get trampled over.

Also, wouldn't this be better in the Sexual Ethics and Politics forum?

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morganlh85
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I don't think they should have ANY right to do this. If I own a private restaurant, can I ban gays from my restaurant? I don't think so. While it is a private group, it still is in the United States, and still has to conform to the Constitution. I guess they found the loophole about sexuality not specifically appearing in there. I know there are lots of gay men that have a lot to offer boys in Boy Scouts, especially TOLERANCE. Not allowing gays in this group is enforcing a prejudice against a group. So is this what Boy Scouts is today? A fascist, exclusive, segregated manly-boys club? This is 2001...this nation should have grown out of this disgusting phase a LOONG time ago.

Even gay BOYS not allowed in? Aren't gay people excluded enough without being refused the chance to learn about the wilderness and such? HOMOSEXUALITY IS HURTING NO ONE IN THIS SOCIETY. Except maybe the homosexuals being treated so terribly in this nation. I find it terribly unfair, and I can't believe the people American could allow ANYONE to be denied of their basic rights.

Who knows, maybe the Boy Scouts will start banning black people, Hispanic people, people who work at K-Mart, people who live in trailer parks, the possibilities are ENDLESS.

[This message has been edited by morganlh85 (edited 07-05-2001).]


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John Doe
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A resturant is a public accomidation, and as such is required to be non discriminatory. The boy scouts are a private organization (although given their national congressionally granted charter there is a bit of a question about that). As a private organization, requiring them to admit someone would trample on their right to freedom of association, which is part of the first amendment. This is because the freedom to associate means also the freedom not to associate if one so chooses. One way of looking at this is to ask, what would happen if christian fundimentalists could en mass join say PFLAG and thus overwhelm and subvert the mission of that group. What if Nazi's could do the same thing to Banai Brith?
Personally I think that the scouts stand is just plain wrong, and I wish that they would change it, but that is a different issue than the govenment forcing them to change it.
By the way I think that the policy only refers to scout masters, not to the boys themselves. I think they are wrong and they damage their moral credibility with their stand. It is a shame since I think the scouts have so much to offer so many boys, that they have to mess it up with this homophobic stance of theirs. I know that many local troops simply ignore the national hq on this issue.

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Heather
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Ultimately -- and I don't like it either -- discrimination laws and EOE stuff just don't apply to totally private organizations. I'm not aware enough of the Boy Scouts funding to know if they are indeed totally privately funded.

That aside, I too find this truly sad and distressing. I actually did Girl Scouts for a while as a kid and I loved it (even given I missed a bit of the point, seeing it as something of a competition for badges, but that's me). In addition, our scout leader was an older gay woman, and she made a profound impact on me, and was really one of the first role models as I had as a non-hetero person, something which is incrtedibly valuable. As valuable say, as a young child in early education, which is generally very female-dominated in terms of staff, being able to also have a male teacher and see that they can be nurturing, too.

Sending the message that anything but heterosexuality is unaccpetable is ultimately not sending a message of empowerment to boys (or girls), and that's where the Boy Scouts just really made a blunder, because they've made it clear they aren't about what they claim to be. But it is a real pity and it is very upsetting.

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[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 07-05-2001).]


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Daniel
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Also, IIRC, Jesse Helms has brought forward a law that means that if an American public school does not make their property available to the Boy Scouts for club meetings and such, then they will lose federal funding.

Now, I do have a problem with Boy Scouts ban on gay people, but legally, they can make that choice. I'm not American, but if I were, I simply wouldn't be a Scout, to show my disliking for their bigotry. However, legally speaking, as a private group, we have to respect that bigotry (erm).

But threatening to cut a school's funding for not allowing bigotry to take place on their grounds is disgusting.


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lemming
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I'm going to have to agree to what seems to be the predominating opinion here:

The Boy Scouts are a private organization. In that, they have the right to limit their membership to whoever they see fit.

*HOWEVER,* Boy Scout troops often are allowed to hold meetings at PUBLIC schools on PUBLIC land in PUBLICLY-OWNED buildings, and *this* should not be allowed to continue, whether as a supposed "service to the community" or not - not because they don't allow gay males to join, but because they are a private organization.

If we limit the rights of a private organization to make rules for itself regarding its membership, we're stepping on EVERYBODY's rights.

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Confused boy
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Thats a good idea there: squeeze the organisation by legal, making use of the same loopholes they used to deny membership to gays.

Of course, one thing I dont quite understand is how are they supposed to know their members sexuality? Will it be in their oath (or whatever they do) or thier membership form. Surely someones sexuality does not have to affect their membership of a club which has nothing to do with sex, or atleast I think it has nothing to do with sex , I would not know as there is no way anybody is getting me near a club like that. It would be the Young Socialists for me (if they existed).

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John Doe
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There are many positive aspects to scouting, and by and large i think the orginazation is still worthwhile, I think that on balance it does much more good than harm. That is in part why their stance on gays saddenes me so much, it seems to go against the essence of what they are supposed to be about. the scouts give millions of boys a sort of tribal sense, rites of passage, good friendships and worthwhile skills. By and large they teach good moral values (A scout is trustworthy, loyal, brave, honest, clean, etc.). The scouts have kept many boys out of gangs and trouble. They have helped provide good male role models for many fatherless boys who would otherwise not have them. It is a shame that such an otherwise good orginzation takes such a wrong stance.
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Sallynha
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Hey I know this is no subject to joke, but I've just watched South Park's episode #503 and it was about gays being banned of Scouts

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Pixie69
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Next thing you know they'll ban transexuals and transvestites too! Actually, I'm surprised that they haven't. I don't have a problem with a private organization banning people, it sucks, but it's their right to do so. I do think that they're missing out on a lot, because they're losing possible volunteers and members that could have provided the group with a worthwile perspective.

However, I do think that as a private organization, they need to provide their own places to meet. This is a bit of a peeve of mine, seeing as the boyscouts used *my* middle school for meetings. My dance team had to reschedule practices (or move them to the cafeteria, which gave many of us shinsplints because of the concrete foundation) and change performance dates because of them.

The government needs to support it or not, and not do this one foot in the door crap.

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Brittany
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Pixie69
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--oops--

[This message has been edited by Pixie69 (edited 07-05-2001).]


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Gumdrop Girl
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i'm dating an eagle scout, and this topic has led to either one of us sleeping on the couch a few times.

as much as i hate the ruling, and wish that the Boy Scouts of America would be an inclusive organization, I do recognize that because they are a private organization, they are allowed to make their own rules. so i'll take it sulking.

the scouts themselves, by and large, are not homophobic. not my boyfriend, not his friends, not any eagle scout i've ever met. but because the BSA are a private entity, we simply recognize their right to make their own rules. that doesn't make the rule okay, though.

but at the root of things, wouldn't simply having a *boy* scout group be discriminationg based on gender anyway? i think what we really need is an organization for all youths regardless of gender, creed, orientation, size, shape, colour, etc., with that sort of politica and social clout.

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"And who are you who are so wise in the ways of science?" from Monty Python and the Holy Grail


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Dzuunmod
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Here in Canada, we recently got our first gay scout troop. It was touted as a world first, but I'm not sure if that's true.

I think that there are certain cases where perhaps human rights should come over the rights of of private groups/individuals. Maybe this is one of 'em. I'm undecided so far.

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smittenkitten
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Although I am Australian, I was a member of the scouts here when I was eight. Sexuality didn't come into it.

Perhaps scouts are a private organization, but should that mean they can practice discrimination?

It reminds me of the private schools over here. They get more government funding then the public schools. They are still considered private.

This may just be my twisted mind, but I can sort of draw a parallel between the boy scouts and the Klu Klux Klan. They both build huge campfires. They both don't want anything to do with homosexuals...must be my twisted mind :0)

Hugs & Scully,
Winnie :0)

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Confused boy
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I still dont understand how on earth the Boy Scouts are supposed to know whether someone is gay! I mean I dont even know exactly what my sexuality is yet! How are they supposed to know the sexuality of its members?

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'An Anarchist is a Liberal with a bomb' Trotsky


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John Doe
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The case the supreme court decided was about an adult former eagle scout who wanted to be a scoutmaster and the national HQ wouldn't let him. He was out of the closet. Cub Scouts are for boys from apx 7 to 11, boy scouts from apx 12 to 18, so orientation can be known while a boy is in the scouts, particularly if he decides to come out of the closet.
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Daniel
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Basically, if someone tells the scout authorities that you like boys, then you get chukced out (or not allowed to join).
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LilBlueSmurf
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I am an ex Girl Guide of 7 years ... I loved it to bits and my family and my Brown Owl (Brownie leader) are still extrememly close. I'm considering going into Guides as a leader now, just b/c my Brown Owl had such an impact on my whole life ... she was even there for me when i was in the hospital. She's one of my moms closest friends and i know she'd walk over water to do anything for anyone in need. That said, she's straight. Would it matter if she wasn't? Not to me. Not to any of the other little girls who's lives she changed. I don't see how it could.

However, I agree w/ Lemming 110%. It is a private organization and they can admit who they please. Brownies has already changed so much since i was a Brownie ... to accomidate the changes to society. They're bending somewhat ... Just not that much. And b/c it IS a private organization, they can do that.

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Laughs_Wisely
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I guess you could call me an infiltrator.

I've been a Girl Guiding woman since I was 7 years old and joined Brownies. I was a stellar Brownie, an even better Guide, I went to an International event at age 13, I got both my Canada and All Round Cord (the year before they phased it out), and was considered one of the best girls to pass through the local group.

After three years away from Guides, I signed up as a leader for the same group I'd come out of. The women who lead in my city still recognize me.

I was a mostly outed lesbian when I signed the forms, though no one but my co-leader knew it.

And the story pretty much ends there. The girls adored us both, we had a blast, the moms thought I was wonderful, and I bowed out at the end of the year with some serious thinking to do about my life. They were sad to see me go.

GGC (Girl Guides Canada) has no policy on lesbian leadership, though it's pretty much a 'don't talk about it' situation. I don't think the BSC (Boy Scouts of Canada) have a no-gays policy either. I am aware that the GSA (Girl Scouts of America) have specifically stated that they will NOT follow the Boy Scouts lead (in fact, I'm pretty sure I've read somewhere that some of the higher ranking Girl Scouts _are_ lesbians...)

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broccolidiva
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Can you imagine saying "Sorry Timmy, you're a homosexual. Homosexuality isn't accepted with the scouts. You're different and different is BAD!"? Way to crush childhood dreams! Besides, being a homosexual child/teen is tough enough just from the feedback you get from your peers. It's awful to think of feeling rejection into a well-known club JUST because of your sexuality!

I know that it's the right of the Scouts to chose who they admit... but that just plain sucks!

My 2 cents, anyways.

Love,
Brocc


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madlight
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The Boy Scouts have every right to exclude gays. We are an organization that focuses on moral character and role models for young and teenage boys, and homosexuals are not able to --- edited --

From the user agreement:

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[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 08-04-2001).]


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Dzuunmod
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madlight,
How can you exclude an entire group of people, just like that? So, because someone likes people of their own gender, does that automatically mean that they are not a person of moral character, or a good role model?

What about people who have other sexual practices that don't fit into some people's visions of what's normal?

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Etch
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The boyscouts are a CHRISTIAN based group. They are a private religous organization that excludes homosexuals for several reasons. First, and formost though, it is against christian morals.

Girlscouts on the other hand are not a religously based organization. Even in their pledge you can pledge to Satan if you wanted to. A couple years ago the changed it so that you pledge to whatever your higher power is. They do not exclude homosexuals. In fact i had an assistant troop leader who was bisexual.

But the boyscout have the right to exclude anyone they want. They can exclude you for not believing in God as well. If you go to church and become a member but you are homosexual and it is against that churches morals do you think that they have the right to say we cant have you here as a member anymore? I think so. If you are going to be part of a religous organization you should fallow their rules.

And their decision is not about troop leaders molesting the boys. Parents might think so, but it really is not. It is about christian morals.


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Heather
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The problem is Etch, that they currently still receive public funding to my knowledge, and also have often strong-armed public schools and community centers into giving them meeting space, regardless of how the schools (publicly-funded places, mind you) feel about their organization or message.

If a group truly is private, you're right: it's their right to make their own guidelines, however discriminatory (my mother, by the way, is Christan and has a female partner, and one of my favorite professors was a lesbian minister, so it might be more apt not to say those are "christian" morals, but that particular groups idea of such) and destructive they may be, within the letter of the law.

But taking or courting public funding or strong-arming public groups into working with them isn't respecting that division and ISN'T within the letter of the law. Same goes for churches or any other group which accepts public funds or courtesies or tax breaks -- they can't have it both ways. If you accept public funding of any sort (even in barter) then discrimination laws apply.

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Heather Corinna
Editor and Founder, Scarleteen

My epitaph should read: "She worked herself into this ground."
-- Kay Bailey Hutchinson

[This message has been edited by Miz Scarlet (edited 08-05-2001).]


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Bobolink
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I should point out that the Boy Scouts was not founded as a Christian group. When Baden-Powell was drawing up it's organization, he tried to make it compatible with the 4 religions with which he was familiar (Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Kikuyu tribal). Which is why you will find Boy Scout troops in almost all countries except the communist dictatorships. Baden-Powell wanted an inclusive fellowship, not an exclusive one. The trouble is that the Boy Scouts of America elected not to affilliate with the international organization.

Both my son and I have been proud members of Scouts Canada.

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We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.

- Albert Einstein

[This message has been edited by Bobolink (edited 08-07-2001).]


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Lady Moonlight
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True, the Boy Scouts are not specifically Christian, but they do require belief in a higher power. They have banned athiests in the same way they have banned gays, again with the justification of being a private organization that is therefore allowed to choose its members.
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Etch
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The boyscouts website has a page about funding, where they get it and how its used. this is it.

http://www.scouting.org/nav/about.html

[This message has been edited by Etch (edited 08-06-2001).]


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PixieDust
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Hmmm...honestly...I think it's bull, but there is something happening quite similar with the Salvation Army now, saying that they have the right to refuse service to anyone who seems remotely gay or "does not follow the Christian ways" because they are a private company...they will not hire anyone who "does not follow the Christian ways" I am gay, but I believe in Christ, and I am Christian...but lemme say something those santas during the holidays aren't getting my pennies. I remember when I was younger like 3 or 4...my favorite thing was to go up to them and give them a big hug (this was when they actually were Santas) and drop a couple of pennies in...it's a shame I can't do that now.

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"We are the normal"-Johny Rznick


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PixieDust
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oh and another thing...who of you would want to join such a group that promotes closed and narrow minded views and hatred like that? I'm sorry, but being gay, I'd like to be a part of a group that accepts me for who I am, not just because the supreme court told them to.

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"We are the normal"-Johny Rznick


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BruinDan
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quote:
Originally posted by PixieDust:
who of you would want to join such a group that promotes closed and narrow minded views and hatred like that

While I wholeheartedly agree with you on this matter, I think perhaps the use of the word "hatred" may be a bit too strong. Maybe "ignorance" would be a better term to use in this situation. When I think of hatred, I think of extremists who believe in the extermination of a group they deem "undesirable." I don't think the Scouts fit that category.

In this case, I think the Scouts are promoting a sense of ignorance and intolerance to a fairly sizeable portion of the population at large. Admittedly, this is not much better than promoting hatred, but I still think a fair difference exists.

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Etch
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I think they are fallowing their own set of morals.

While i believe that you can believe in God, and Jesus while being gay, it is by whole against christian morals. The bible explains quite clearly that sex is meant only after marriage, and a marriage is between a man and a woman and therefore homosexuality is against their moral laws. (most other mentions of homosexuality are in the old testement so they apply more to the jewish faith)

However, christians also are taught to hate the sin but love the sinner. On the surface it seems that banning gays from scouting is against that idea, but it really isnt. Churches wont exclude you if you join their church and you are outright sinning (like adultry and things you KNOW are sins) but if you keep up the behavior then they can and likely will ask you to leave.

I am sure gays can JOIN the boyscouts, but if they stay gay (or are making a big scene about being gay) then they can and likely will ask you to leave.

The last two words in the boyscout pledge is "morally straight" (by straight they do not me heterosexual exactly, just inline or correct to their standards) One of their main goals is to teach young men their morals for living. If their morals conclude that being homosexual is wrong then so be it. Dont join. Dont give your support.

But i would like to say a few things here. This website is about not judging others morals. We do not breed ignorance. But who is to say your morals are right but theirs are wrong? Most of the parents who put their sons in the Boyscouts want the same moral standards as the boyscouts. The boyscouts are not an anti-gay group. They are a morally based group and one of their morals is that homosexuality is wrong. Some people (many people) are against having more then one sex partner EVER because it can spread disease easier. Are they wrong? No! Just different. The boyscouts just dont have the PC set of morals.

So why dont you stop judging a MORALLY based PRIVATE organization because they want to uphold their morals which they are entitled to.

And i would just like to say that i am in no way against homosexuality. i just think that everyone is entitled to their own opinion. so stop trying to silence someone, or a group, just because you dont like their ideas.


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John Doe
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Sure, Blacks can join the country club, but if they stay black they will be asked to leave.
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Confused boy
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So how about forming a rival boy scout group that does stick to the international boy scout ideology of availabitity to all. Sine the current boy scouts is dominated by conservatives there is no way to say which 1 is the true boy scouts group. They would have been around longer but the new one would have international recognition.

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Dzuunmod
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Etch, the Bible states 'clearly' that so many things are wrong. Tell me I don't need to pull out so many of the examples, here of things that were at one time 'clear' rules set out by the Bible, but that most people now ignore...

Eating pork or shelled fish, shaving hair near the temples, marking bodies with tattoos, wearing blended fabrics or having sexual relations with women during their menstrual cycles, all of these things are no-noed in the Bible.

I'm not mocking Christianity or the Bible, mind you, I'm just saying that times change, and most of Christianity has made changes for these things. Why is it willing to let some 'rules', for lack of a better word, go, but not others?

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