Jeff & Marla, Gwen and Keith Ashby, Sandy and Jim Rogers, Laif and Kara Meidel.
For the last five months the BSA has been going through a decision making process on whether or not to allow gay youth and adults in Scouting. It has been contentious and confusing. The LDS church chose to not take any position on the matter or to try to influence the process until after the BSA had made a decision. Originally the proposal was to allow both gay youth and gay adults. After a lot of polling and town hall style meetings the position evolved to one of allowing youth who had gay leanings but did not act on them but to bar adults who were “openly or avowed homosexuals and whose behavior would be a distraction to the mission of the BSA”. For this proposal to go through would require the affirmative vote of the national voting members of the BSA, of which there are 1400 nationwide.
The vote was to take place at the BSA National meeting in Dallas Texas. Since I am the Council Commissioner, I was one of the voting members. I was very concerned about the militant homosexual community using Scouting to advance their agenda, so I was pleased that BSA maintained their position on adults. I think a lot of kids get very confused on issues of sexuality. With popular media, pornography, and general lack of moral education today it is a difficult time to be a boy or young man.
The vote was 61% in favor of the resolution and 39% against. The media came out and basically said BSA open to gays. Unfortunately the BSA did a poor job of communicating the entire content of the resolution and many people made their judgments from based on the media message.
In reality the entirety of the resolution reinforces and makes stronger several aspects of what it means to be a Boy Scout.
The Resolution reinforces that “Duty to God” is a vital influence in a Scout’s Life. It points out that Scouting is for youth and youth should not be sexually active regardless of sexual orientation. It points out that there is no change in the standards for adult leaders. And finally it points out that no youth will be denied participation in BSA based on sexual orientation alone as long as they abide by the other principals and requirements of Scouting.
It is interesting to note that the LDS church has had the same standard in the General Handbook since 2010. It states that as long as youth are keeping the commandments and abiding by the standards as laid out in the “For the Strength of Youth” pamphlet, they are encouraged to participate in the programs of the church including the BSA.
One the way back from Dallas, we stopped off in Phoenix for a quick visit with Jesse and Cori and the Grand kids.