Friday, May 24, 2013

NE, IA reaction to partial lifting of Boy Scouts gay ban

In the Omaha World-Herald:
     "I ran two Cub Scout groups for over 19 years back in the 1960s and never, I say never, turned away anyone. Scouting is a good thing for all. There are a lot of boys today who go to school with other kids who are gay and they get along fine playing baseball or softball or whatever. As long as people obey the rules, things are fine. So, why should this hurt the Boy Scouts of America?"
— Dennis Bullaro, former Omaha Cub Scout leader
In the Des Moines Register:
     “Today’s vote ending discrimination of gay Scouts is truly a historic moment and demonstrates the Boy Scouts of America’s commitment to creating a more inclusive organization,” Zach Wahls, an Iowa Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality, said in a statement.
     ...Scott Russell, a former Scout and a leader in Ankeny for more than a decade, said in April that he would leave the organization if the policy changed, “with a tear in my eye.”
     On Thursday, Russell said he will join a coalition of parents who are planning to organize a new youth program in line with their beliefs.
In the Lincoln Journal-Star:
     Foster Collins, a local assistant scoutmaster in Lincoln who has pushed for an end to the ban on gay scouts and scout leaders, said he now would like to see the Boy Scouts take the next step.
     “It’s a good start,” he said. “This won't do anything to lessen the pressure to end the ban on gay scout leaders because everyone has to see the irony that it's OK to be a gay Boy Scout, but as soon as you reach the age of 18, you're kicked out.”
In the Sioux City Journal:
     A policy about sexual orientation doesn’t belong in Boy Scouts, according to Jeff Neary. The organization’s decision Thursday to lift the ban on openly gay members brought bittersweet resolve to the assistant Scout master and district court judge in Le Mars, Iowa.
     Gay adults will remain barred from serving as Scout leaders, and Neary said that policy continues to single people out.
     “We’re sending mixed messages this way,” Neary said. “I’m glad they’ve lifted the restriction for the boys … it’s a step in the right direction. I don’t think it goes far enough.”
JoeMyGod has reaction from LGBT organizations here followed by  this trenchant, but pertinent comment by "Mike," a reader:
     Gee, awfully nice of NGLTF to issue a press release considering they did absolutely nothing to make this happen. This happened largely because one extremely smart and self-motivated young man — Zach Wahls — took the bull by the horns and started going after BSA's corporate sponsors. Zach confronted them with their own anti-discrimination policies and demanded to know why they were violating their own corporate principles. One by one they dropped the BSA - Intel, Verizon, UPS and on and on. And then suddenly there was a newfound interest on the part of the BSA to rethink its policies.
     I wonder why the so-called "Task Force" didn't think to do any of this. Maybe a quarter of a million dollars in salary for their Executive Director isn't enough to prod creative thinking.

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