OPPOSING VIEW: Our politically unpopular trail
Standing athwart this trend is the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which announced this month that it will continue its policy of excluding gay and lesbian members and leaders. An 11-member panel concluded that exclusion is “absolutely the best policy” for the more than century-old organization.
Talk about out of step.
The 2.7-million member BSA preaches kindness, loyalty and bravery, and its oath urges Scouts “to help other people at all times.” Yet intolerance of gays and lesbians apparently overrides these values.
This isn’t a legal issue. The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that, as a private organization, the Scouts have a constitutional right to exclude openly gay people. Freedom of association, the court said, plainly presupposes a freedom not to associate.
But just because an organization can do something doesn’t mean it should. Groups such as the Girl Scouts, Jaycees, Rotary and 4-H Club have all successfully adopted non-discrimination policies. That leaves the Boy Scouts as an outlier.
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In explaining its policy, Scouting seems to miss the point by saying it is not a sex-education organization. No one is suggesting that it should be. Scouting’s critics simply want it to be inclusive and neutral.
Another largely unspoken concern involves the fear of unwanted sexual advances, or worse. Perhaps Scout leaders should consult the American Psychological Association, which
This article originally appeared on: http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/story/2012-07-29/Boy-Scouts-anti-gay-policy/56579714/1