The Boy Scouts of America’s national office and social media sites have been swamped with calls for and against the youth group lifting its ban against gay scouts and troop leaders.
The messaging follows the BSA’s announcement that the policy is again under review. The ban could be lifted as early as next week, when a national meeting takes place.
The BSA is receiving calls at its national service desk, 972-580-2330, as well as receiving posts on its Facebook page.
There’s also been many messages delivered via press release and in the news, especially by LGBT civil rights leaders supporting an end to the ban and right-wing leaders who support continuing the prohibition.
Responding to the BSA announcement, Herndon Graddick, the president of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, said, “The Boy Scouts of America have heard from scouts, corporations and millions of Americans that discriminating against gay scouts and scout leaders is wrong. Scouting is a valuable institution and this change will only strengthen its core principles of fairness and respect.”
GLAAD has worked with petitioners through Change.org to persuade BSA officials, as well as companies that have supported the scouts, that the policy must change.
GLAAD partner Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts for Equality who will be a keynote speaker at a Fair Wisconsin Education Fund event in February, said earlier this week that if the Scouts lift the ban it "would be an incredible step forward in the right direction. We look forward to working with BSA Councils and chartering organizations across the country to end the exclusion of our gay brothers in Scouting, as well as the gay and lesbian leaders who serve the organizations so well.”
Meanwhile, right-wing leaders are rallying their supporters to urge the Boy Scouts to stand by the ban, which the group has gone all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend.
Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality accused the BSA of promoting “deviant sexuality among the boys” and “capitulating to immorality.”
Southern Baptist Convention vice president Sing Oldham said many Baptist churches will cease to host scouting groups and instead may create an alternative group for youths.
The Family Research Council, in its call to action to members, said the BSA, until now, has withstood “the constant bullying by those who work to bring down all that the millions of dedicated Scouts and Scout leaders stand for.”
The American Family Association, in another call to action sent to members, said, “If the BSA departs from its policies on allowing homosexual scoutmasters and boys in the program, it will destroy the legitimacy and the security of this iconic institution.”
Meanwhile, the AFA’s Bryan Fischer tweeted, “Jerry Sandusky is now the poster boy for the Boy Scouts of America.”
For the record…
The BSA statement released earlier this week:
“Currently, the BSA is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation. This would mean there would no longer be any national policy regarding sexual orientation, and the chartered organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting would accept membership and select leaders consistent with each organization’s mission, principles or religious beliefs. BSA members and parents would be able to choose a local unit that best meets the needs of their families.
“The policy change under discussion would allow the religious, civic, or educational organizations that oversee and deliver Scouting to determine how to address this issue. The Boy Scouts would not, under any circumstances, dictate a position to units, members or parents. Under this proposed policy, the BSA would not require any chartered organization to act in ways inconsistent with that organization’s mission, principles, or religious beliefs.”