The nation’s largest gay civil rights group on Feb. 4 took out a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News calling on the Boy Scouts of America to drop its ban against gays.
Meanwhile, a coalition of right-wing groups purchased a USA Today ad calling for a continuance of the ban by BSA, which is headquartered in the Dallas area and is holding a national board meeting this week.
In its ad, the Human Rights Campaign, a Washington-based LGBT civil rights group, urges the BSA to completely eliminate its ban. The policy the BSA said it was considering this week would remove a national barrier to gay scouts and troop leaders and allow local organizations to make decisions about membership.
HRC communications vice president Fred Sainz said, “While the proposed change is a step in the right direction, we can’t pretend that passing the buck to the local level will eliminate anti-gay discrimination because it won't. Generations of gay Americans have been told they’re not good enough to join the Scouts, simply because of who they are. BSA has an opportunity to change that this week by adopting a non-discrimination policy. Scouting, which has played an important role in American society, will be strengthened by that action.”
The ad encourages readers to call on the BSA board to adopt a national anti-discrimination policy.
The ad against a policy change calls on the BSA to “Show courage. Stand firm for timeless values” and said lifting the ban would be a “grave mistake” and a threat to religious liberty.
The ad suggests that the BSA is caving into pressure out of fear for lost funding and asked, “How will parents be able to entrust their children to the Boy Scouts if they trade the well-being of the boys for corporate dollars?"
The groups that signed the ad include Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, the Liberty Council, Texas Values, the American Family Association, Illinois Family Institute, Wisconsin Family Action, Concerned Women for America, Family Research Council and The Family Leader.