May 28, 2013
Boy Scouts of America makes right decision
Boy Scouts have played a big role in Issaquah’s history, as well as shaped numerous boys and young men to be better citizens.
Local Scouts provide numerous community service hours of good deeds, from food drives to litter cleanup, from construction of the early version of Gibson Hall’s log cabin in 1932 to the many Eagle Scout projects that provide new amenities around town today.
However, the Boy Scouts of America have not led by example, choosing to discriminate against gay boys. Last week, BSA’s National Council voted by secret ballot to change the rules to open their ranks to openly-gay members. It’s a good step, but a tiny one.
The 61 percent vote in favor of allowing gays, does not condone sexual conduct by any gay or straight Scout — a solid value all teens should learn. But, the ruling doesn’t go far enough. First, it doesn’t go into effect for a year. And, gay Scout leaders are still prohibited, even if they have sons of their own in the program.
Discrimination of any kind should not be tolerated, and sexual orientation should not rob a young man of the opportunity for service, skill building, leadership training and friendship. Half the fun of joining a club is the feeling of belonging. An organization that tolerates discrimination instead of teaching inclusion and welcoming diversity does not have a home in America.
We like to hope that in spite of organization rules, discrimination does not live among our Issaquah Boy Scouts.