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Ramon Johnson

Gay Boy Scouts Get Last Laugh

By October 19, 2006

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I was a boy scout for a few days when I was 10. I never actually wanted to be one, but joining was the only way I could go on the camping trip my friend at school wouldn't stop bragging about. I joined on a Friday, coerced my parents into buying me the uniform, went on the trip and quit the next Monday. At the time, I didn't even realize I was gay, nor did I have a desire to be a troop leader, so the organization's policy against openly gay men wasn’t an issue. Who cared about that heavy badge loaded belt? I wanted to see some snakes!

There are, however, many young men who find a home in the Scouts and aspire to be coveted troop leaders. They earn their badges the same as the others yet according to the Boy Scouts, being a homosexual isn't consistent with its mission to "instill in young people lifetime values and develop in them ethical character."

These "values" were challenged before the Supreme Court in 2000. The court eventually gave the Boys Scouts of America a free badge to discriminate against gays, atheists and agnostics under the guise of Freedom of Speech. The battle didn't end there, though. Since then, local governments have been giving the BSA one big collective mud pie to the face. Over the last six years local governments have fought against the discriminatory ruling by forcing the organization to pay for space they were previously being granted for free. The message from the Supreme Court: Discriminate all you want. The message from local States: You may have been given the right to discriminate, but they didn't say we had to allow you to do it for free. The Scout's problem: Some local chapter membership is down and they can't afford to pay for the space they use.

In the latest legal battle, the California Supreme Court ruled that city of Berkeley can refuse to grant the Berkeley Sea Scouts free use of a public marina because of their discriminatory policies. Two years ago, Connecticut removed the group from its list of charities that receive donations from state employees. In Philadelphia, the Boy Scouts face eviction from their city-owned headquarters. They must pay rent or change their policies. The Scouts are also being challenged in separate cases for requiring their members to swear before God.

Despite these setbacks, BSA believes the federal courts will once again protect their policies, "The issue of governments seeking to punish organizations for exercising their First Amendment rights is a recurring one. There will be other opportunities for the Supreme Court to affirm First Amendment protections for organizations dealing with government agencies," says Boy Scouts attorney George Davidson. Until then, I hope they can pay the rent.

Gay Scouts:
Scouting for All

Boy Scout News:
Boy Scouts: Wiccans Not Welcome, Liars Just Fine
Boy Scouts Must Disclose Sexual Abuse History

Images: Logo, © Boy Scouts of America; Boots, © Mike Johnson; Trees, © Can Berkol.
October 27, 2006 at 1:49 pm
(1) Kyle says:

I discontinued my contributions to the United Way, years ago, because of their support of the Boy Scouts and their anti-gay policy. Young men are committing suicide over this treatment. I’m sure God is really fond of THAT!

October 28, 2006 at 7:09 pm
(2) Hongo says:

My sister just asked me to accompany my little nephew on his first cub scout overnight. I take great relish in the idea of parking my gay [self] in the midst of straightsville. I’m planning to come out to all the other “dads” around the breakfast fire.

November 23, 2008 at 12:47 am
(3) Bruce says:

I quit donating to the United Way because they quit making donations to the Boy Scouts in some areas based on the BSA anti-sodomite stand. I also quit buying things at CVS for the same reason. What goes around, comes around. In the end, God has the last laugh.

(dare you to have the courage to keep this posted at your blog)

February 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm
(4) brenda says:

I also quit giving to the United Way, because they stopped donating to the boy scouts.
You are correct, God will have the last laugh.

November 10, 2009 at 5:22 pm
(5) Hawk says:

Well Im in Boy Scouts. It is offensive to see kids that are gay and want to join. I asked my Scoutmaster about it. He said that the rules stated no gay child could join. But he also said that as long as people dont tell him, then he doesnt know. So i think that our country is now corrupt due to the fact that gays are being discriminated on by Boy Scout troops.

November 18, 2009 at 6:14 pm
(6) Tim says:

Not allowing gays in the Boy scouts is not a political statement and the gays need to stop deliberately picking fights. Boy Scouts is a PRIVATE organization and it would be against the 1′st amendment to force them to allow gays, atheist, or agnostics into scouts if they didn’t want to. That was the what the supreme court decided in the early 90′s anyways. Also Boys scouts was created to help shape young boys into Godly Men of tomorrow. It is a religious based organization so it would make sense that they wouldn’t want to certain groups leading the scouts. That doesn’t mean Boy scouts are perfect or higher than anyone else they simply just don’t support the life styles of gays or atheist. If you don’t like that then just deal with it, why let it bother you.

May 11, 2011 at 7:48 pm
(7) angie says:

That is all fine and dandy, but they must also accept that if they want to discriminate against people they CANNOT simultaneously expect a government handout (cash or housing for their meetings). Tax money should never support religious or discriminatory organizations. Federal money is the money of the people, all of them gay, straight, christian, atheist, etc.

February 2, 2010 at 6:07 pm
(8) anon says:

I am a gay male and I earned my Eagle scout award almost a decade ago. Are gay Eagle scouts still returning their badges? I never really kept up-to-date with this issue because honestly, getting the award didn’t mean much to me. I’d gladly return it. I mostly needed it as a decoration for my college applications.

May 1, 2011 at 8:25 pm
(9) Shauna says:

Yes, there’s a site called AllScouts or something like that.

February 21, 2010 at 2:03 pm
(10) TK says:

The gay activists attack Scouting but the damage is the youngest of boys and low income. Cub Scouts for the most part are the ones that use public facilities to hold meeting such as schools and community buildings. Urban low-income areas where older boys could benefit from use of public facilities are most challenge by the rent Ramon Johnson is so joyous for.

Most Boy Scout Troops (ages 10 to 17) are based in churches. Use of public and national parks is provided free to youth organizations in exchange for community service. The gay activist is not a youth but an adult who may have once been a scout. The Scouting program does not bring sexuality into its curriculum. But gay activists always promote sexuality. The outcome of the activist movement is to deny youth program of any sort that does not promote their agenda.

Denying program to our young people is not a service to the community. Look at the Scouting for All group, they don’t provide any service other than protesting. Parents not activists have the right to determine how their children will be raised and what youth groups will best develop them. There is no gay scouting movement that offers this. Even the Adventure Scouts movement does not offer a scouting program other than to associate itself with the gay cause.

Gay activists may reduce resource but their voice is not in the benefit of youth development but to bring issues sexuality into our schools, churches and youth programs.

March 5, 2010 at 9:24 pm
(11) Ross Anziano says:

I know I’m about to be a target, but here we go…why is the gay community so angry that a group of primaraily straight people want to pass on values similiar to thier own? Should Democrats be allowed to join primarily Republican groups? Be as gay as the day is long. How come we straight people can’t catch a break? I don’t come to the pride parade and harass people to accept my straightness. Start a gay book club; I love books, but it’s obviously not where my presence would be appreciated, so I stay home and read…idk, seems a little silly. Whatever, gay it up fellas. Keep putting the few before the many, when it serves your purpose.

March 6, 2010 at 5:53 pm
(12) gaylife says:

Silly us, Ross, for being concerned with all of this equal rights mumbo jumbo. Nothing like a good book club to ease the stress of discrimination. Oh, and, by the way, you already get 1,138 breaks. That’s the number of rights the gov gives you when you sign your marriage certificate. I’m sure that’s not in your scout manual, so here’s some good reading for you:

April 1, 2010 at 9:24 am
(13) george ayres says:

People can be stright or they can gay but neither one has the right to forceing anyone to accept their way of life

May 2, 2010 at 3:35 pm
(14) Unknown says:

So, they bar gays (And from other articles) kick out atheists, agnostics while they let in pedophiles and individuals with criminal history, who would prove to be more of a threat to the young?

I guess this is where we get some of our ignorant, intolerant pricks from.

June 1, 2010 at 6:26 pm
(15) PinkLady says:

Wonder how many straight little boys in the scouts go about showing off their weenies on their camp trips. Oh, please enough of homophobia, the Don’t Ask Don’t tell is going to be repealed and the Boy Scouts will follow suit. God is ashamed that we reject any of his children who are different. Could Palin’s mongoloide join the scouts? or do they only take “normal,” white boys, who are homophobs and bigots?

June 16, 2010 at 12:30 pm
(16) Dave C says:

The issue is, how many parents would pull their kids out of a scout troup led by a gay man? You and I know almost all pedophiles are straight, but blue collar America doesn’t. I think Scout leadership is fearful scouting would cease to exist. How many churches would stop allowing scouts to meet at facilities originally built for them? How many paents would stop their daughter from joining because they thought the irl scout master was gay? What would happen to overnight trips? While I hate seeing this kind of descrimination, the Scouts can’t just take a principled stand if it would bankrupt the organization because too large a percentage of the public disagrees.

July 12, 2010 at 11:14 pm
(17) Jordan (Aksr) says:

To those that are saying the states are trying to make the BSA give up their policy, they’re not. The states have the right to charge the organization rent, just as the organization has a right to discriminate. If the states were trying to make them give up their policy, they could just write up a bill (law, not fee). I used to be in Cub Scouts on and off. Truthfully, they were just a bunch a jackasses who’s butt’s squeaked when they walked (and to those of you too dumb, that’s called an idiom). PinkLady is right, when this dumb, century old taboo is lifted all these people who discriminate will realize just what nimrods and douche-bags they’ve been. But seriously, people much simpler than us, ancient Greeks and Romans, had been accepting of homosexuality. In some myths the Greek god Apollo even had a few male consorts, Hyacinthus for example. People hate homosexuals, but you have a flower named after a mythological homosexual prince, how nice. When people stop being stupid, you can let me know.

August 1, 2010 at 5:35 pm
(18) Ches says:

I am an Eagle Scout and very proud to be one! I want to say that if it wasnt for the Boy Scouts I do not think i would be who I am today. The thing is everyone can benefit from scouting if they give it a chance or they are given a chance.

1. God should not be taken out of scouting, if you do not like it I am sorry, move on! Do not take my beliefs away because you do not like them.

2. Kids that are gay should be allowed in scouting. It will not change who they are but it will help them grow and be more than just a gay person.

3. I am gay! I do not broadcast it nor do I discuss it. It is a fraction of who I am. Yes, family and friends know.

Most of all, I am an Eagle Scout!

If you do not like this I do not care! So, close your browser, go hug your family and stay the hell out of mine!

October 6, 2010 at 5:54 pm
(19) A. T. says:

I am an agnostic and was asked to leave because of my beliefs. I know of at least three gay people who left because of who they are. None of these guys deserved to be treated as they were and were all quite good leaders and scouts. No one deserves to be treated this way because of either their beliefs or who they are. Granted the scouts are a private organization, but that does not excuse their bigotry. It is up to the rest of us to obstruct and shame them into changing their ignorant ways. What they are is not what America stands for.

October 19, 2010 at 11:23 pm
(20) dsepom says:

Make a gay boy scouts and girl scouts becuase i want to join 1 day without being made fun of or kicked off if they find out!!!
sorry about the alias

October 24, 2010 at 9:36 pm
(21) kaen says:

As a PRIVATE organization, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are simply entitled to stipulate whatever qualities/requirements they wish or deem necessary for their members to espouse.
I’m not advocating nor condemning this organization for their decisions…I’m simply reiterating the fact that this organization is simply exercising one of the great liberties our amazing Republic allows & protects for us.
For those of you who seek to force change upon this organization to accept whatever value you believe may be discriminatory by their proprietary inclusion requirements is sadly just a fruitless & misdirected Crusade that will only deplete you of your own valuable time & energy. Think of it this way: Does our country ban KKK groups from assembling together or outlaw said organization from indoctrinating others into their hate? No, we don’t. Do you seek to force said organization to alter its membership requirements or alter whoever their hate is focusing upon? No, we don’t.
What IS done with these groups is we MARGINALIZE them & EDUCATE all so these organizations find themselves with dwindling membership, without new membership prospects, and hopefully enlightening those already indoctrinated so they understand their error in ways & abandon those malignant groups.

THINK first, or risk revealing your good intentions are supported only with your ignorance.

November 11, 2010 at 7:59 pm
(22) Eagle says:

Get your facts straight (no pun intended). The “city-owned headquarters” in Philly was bought , built and paid for by the Scouts and “shared” with other groups… (The Scouts donated the building to the city). Shame on the city for punishing such generosity.

February 14, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(23) David Byatt says:

I am happy to say that in the United Kingdom, where Scouting originated back in 1907, I am an out gay Boy Scout Leader! The Scout Association UK does not discriminate on any level, be it sexuality, race or religion.
I can only hope that eventually the far inferior BSA catch up to founders of Scouting.
And for the record, Lord Baden Powell (the founder of Scouting) was a closet gay man and paedophile!

February 18, 2012 at 12:22 am
(24) J says:

“I take great relish in the idea of parking my gay [self] in the midst of straightsville”

“I mostly needed it as a decoration for my college applications.”

“Could Palin’s mongoloide join the scouts? or do they only take “normal,” white boys, who are homophobs and bigots?”

“I used to be in Cub Scouts on and off. Truthfully, they were just a bunch a jackasses who’s butt’s squeaked when they walked (and to those of you too dumb, that’s called an idiom).”

Sounds like the scouts are missing out on a lot of classy gays.

July 19, 2012 at 12:12 am
(25) Rob says:

If you were ever a Scout for any time at all you may have something to contribute here. Otherwise, you have no idea about what is going on in this conversation. A boy, 11 to 14 years old , goes on a camping trip and gets bullied and preyed upon by older kids and his Scoutmaster is either in on it or does nothing about it. He doesn’t know what his “sexuality” is. He probably is excited to be there and just thinks this is how it works. The B.S. A. is absolutely right. I have been there , seen it happen’ and hope it never happens again. If you diagree, join the Catholic church and wear you Penn State T shirt proudly.

February 10, 2013 at 10:09 am
(26) Dare says:

Here’s the thing: there are *already* gay boys and leaders in the Scouting movement. Always have been. Probably 6-10% of their members, in fact, if Scouting represents the same demographic as the rest of society. Now, the issue is not whether or not gays are allowed in; the issue is whether or not they are allowed to be HONEST about who they are. This was exactly the issue with DADT in the U.S. military and despite predictions that revoking it would lead to large-scale hostilities or an exodus of ‘uncomfortable’ heterosexual men, nothing of the sort has occurred. Scouting, despite its religious roots, will similarly catch up to the reality that society is changing and people are allowed to be honest about who they are. After all, aren’t honesty and personal integrity two of the key components of being ‘morally straight’?

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