In 2000, in a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court upheld the right of the Boy Scouts to expel a gay assistant scoutmaster, saying that as a private organization, it had the right to decide what values it wanted to inculcate.
The Boy Scouts of America have now reaffirmed their position, following an internal (and largely confidential) two-year review:
The BSA policy is: “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
Scouting believes same-sex attraction should be introduced and discussed outside of its program with parents, caregivers, or spiritual advisers, at the appropriate time and in the right setting. The vast majority of parents we serve value this right and do not sign their children up for Scouting for it to introduce or discuss, in any way, these topics.
This is a courageous stance in our day. Note that those who may possess same-sex attraction are not being excluded, and in no way are they advocating some kind of witch hunt. The restriction is limited to “individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
The New York Times reports:
Two members of the Boy Scouts’ executive board, James S. Turley, chairman and chief executive of Ernst & Young, and Randall L. Stephenson, chairman and chief executive of AT&T, have recently said they would push to end the exclusion policy.
Which made me wonder: What if Turley and Stephenson happened to agree with the Boy Scouts’ decision? Would other leaders at their firms call for their dismissal? How much freedom will leaders in industry have to affiliate themselves with the Boy Scouts’ position, without accusations of being hateful?