“After decades of being out of the closet, the Boy Scouts of America forced me back into the closet with its don’t ask don’t tell policy,” says Greg Bourke, former Assistant Scoutmaster. Now in high school, Isaiah’s on the verge of becoming an Eagle Scout. But his dad has lost his rank, because he’s gay. “I pose no harm to anyone. I passed all their background checks. I go to church every Sunday with my family. Lord knows we’re philanthropic. I just don’t know what else they want from us.” Scouts and others who support ending the policy of barring openly gay scoutmasters and scouts delivered what they say are 1.4 million signatures on several online petitions to Boy Scout headquarters.
In a statement, the Boy Scouts of America says it “is discussing potentially removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation.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.” President Obama told CBS news before the Super Bowl he supports dropping the restriction on gays. “The Scouts are a great institution that are promoting young people and exposing them to, you know, opportunities and leadership that will serve people for the rest of their lives, and I think that nobody should be barred (from) that.” Rick Perry, governor of the Boy Scouts’ home state of Texas, is opposed. “Scouting is about teaching a substantial amount of life lessons. Sexuality is not one of them.
It has never been and doesn’t need to be,” says Gov. Rick Perry. Several groups opposed to the change took out this ad in USA Today asking the scouts to quote “show courage and stand firm for timeless values.” The traditional values coalition sent an urgent letter to followers asking for 15 dollar donations.
The group says “Christian America is outraged that the Boy Scouts would even consider such an action.” But the Boy Scouts are under pressure from declining membership and from the loss of funding from corporate donors with non-discrimination policies.