Jim Burroway reports that a supposed two-year review of the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay ban has just been completed, with the confidential, in-cover-of-darkness committee choosing to keep the ban in place:
After a confidential two-year review, the Boy Scouts of America on Tuesday emphatically reaffirmed its policy of excluding gays, ruling out any changes despite relentless protest campaigns by some critics.
An 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, “came to the conclusion that this policy is absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts,” the organization’ national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press.
Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion — preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.
And Chad Griffin, the new HRC president, weighed in:
The president of the largest U.S. gay-rights group, Chad Griffin of the Human Rights Campaign, depicted the Scouts’ decision as “a missed opportunity of colossal proportions.”
“With the country moving toward inclusion, the leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have instead sent a message to young people that only some of them are valued,” he said. “They’ve chosen to teach division and intolerance.”
Indeed, they have, and they’re actually going to be teaching division and intolerance both within families and within the Boy Scouts’ ranks. Because guess what, BSA? A lot of your kids are gay. And they have gay family members. Those Boy Scouts who are gay may not be out, choosing to wait until they’re not under the tutelage of a discriminatory organization to come out, but they will eventually. I’m very, very close to an adult Eagle Scout who is also an out and proud gay man. So stop pretending, Boy Scouts, that you’re dealing with some sort of other that you can keep outside the door. It’s already inside, and it always was.
Here is the thing, and as so often is the case, there is a thing. Jim also points us to the Dallas Voice, which reports that this all-too-convenient committee decision might have been timed to usurp the power of the incoming BSA president:
Since the Supreme Court enshrined the BSA’s right to freedom of association as a private organization in 2000, it has seemed like nothing could be done about BSA’s policy excluding gays and atheists. That may be changing with new, vocal board members and a change of president.
The outgoing president was Rex Tillerson, better known as CEO of ExxonMobil, a company with the lowest possible rating on LGBT equality from the Human Rights Campaign.
The incoming BSA president is Wayne Perry, who is retired from McCaw Cellular, which became a part of Dallas-based AT&T — a company that receives the highest possible score from HRC.
Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T, is a vice president of the Boy Scouts. And Stephenson recently issued a statement that reflected AT&T’s commitment to diversity and his disagreement with Boy Scout policy regarding sexual orientation.
“Diversity and inclusion are part of AT&T’s culture and operations, and we’re proud to be recognized as a leader in this area,” he said.
Stephenson’s spokesman, Marty Richter told Dallas Voice he’s committed to changing the policy. But Richter said it was another board member, Ernst & Young Chairman and CEO James Turley, who is even more outspoken on the subject.
Aha. As Jim says, “Today’s announcement smells like Tillerson’s trying to shut off the debate before Perry takes over.”
Anti-gay wingnuts do like to do that, don’t they? Considering the fact that people who are anti-gay are, on average, far older than the rest of the population, it’s always been interesting that they want to enshrine their bigotry in the Constitution, both nationally and in their states, in order to control the lives of the people who will be here long after they’re gone. Of course, bans can and will be repealed in the coming years, but they really seem to need improvement in that preschool-level skill of “minding your own business.”