Boy Scouts of America considering changing membership policy to include gays

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So yesterday the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) released a statement saying that they were going to begin considering changing the restriction on their membership requirements regarding sexual orientation. This coming from a long line of pressure to do so, after the social media got ahold of stories of men who were candidates to be eagle scouts, but were denied due to their sexual orientation.

I'm not all too familiar with the particulars of the boy scouts, but what do you all think? Do you think they'll go through with it? Do you think this will make much difference on a local level? Do you see this as the Scouts giving up their "moral" codes for the sake of bending to societal pressure?

I think they'll go through with it, simply because it's becoming increasingly obvious that it's hard to call something "moral" when it's also discriminatory in regard to something so subjective. And I'm happy for it. The problem really won't leave them alone until they do something about it. I really have no clue if it'll make much of a difference in the troops that are very against it, simply because I don't know how much power they have to deviate from the national standard, and what sort of pressure can be put on them to make them change. Especially since the statement outright says that even though the national BSA might change the wording of their policy, they will allow local branches to handle it as they will.

And again I question the "morality" of this in the first place. The Scouts are heavily backed by the Catholic and Mormon churches, and while I don't see the Catholics changing their opinions on gays anytime soon, I think there's more potential in the Mormon church. It's beginning to sink into many organized churches that the "gay issue" is really only going one way, and they are only going to lose more the longer they stay on the wrong side. But I don't see the catholics totally detaching from the Boy Scouts, either. I think they'll just ignore it for as long as they can, as they continue to do with the other issues piling up in front of their doors.

As a private organization, the BSA can pretty much do whatever it pleases (mostly anyway). The foundations of the anti-gay policy were both religious and cultural at the time. Considering the BSA isn't really a religious organization anyway, and the culture has evolved, I would see the BSA welcoming gay members as a matter of time. It wouldn't really change anything as far as I can see; sexual orientation has no basis for affecting anything structurally beyond the bias of individuals. Being gay isn't going to change how you earn merit badges or serve your community (outside how you choose to do those things anyway).

Fraternizing perhaps? Although it's not like they're going to get each other pregnant. Meh, all the arguments against seem fairly ridiculous to me. But, if they want to continue to restrict memberships, they are within their right to do so. It's up to them.

I welcome this. Freedom of speech and expression means they get to ban gays, but it also means everybody else is free to point out their bigotry and put pressure on them. If that pressure's working, well, then that just means the system is working as intended. Let's wait and see.

More likely than not, they'll drop the national policy, but allow individual troops to make their own rules on the issue. This absolves the national organization of the issue while letting local troops, particularly ones affiliated with churches and temples, maintain their views on the issue. And if one of those groups won't advance a scout because of their orientation, then there will be, with little doubt, a troop in the area willing to let them in with open arms.

Simpsons Zen Toombs did ir.

http://www.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.399601-Boy-Scouts-Accepting-Gays-Now

The Gentleman:
More likely than not, they'll drop the national policy, but allow individual troops to make their own rules on the issue. This absolves the national organization of the issue while letting local troops, particularly ones affiliated with churches and temples, maintain their views on the issue. And if one of those groups won't advance a scout because of their orientation, then there will be, with little doubt, a troop in the area willing to let them in with open arms.

That's how I understand this is going to happen, they aren't including gay people, they've just stopped demanding all the groups exclude them. I'd imagine that invididual groups will happily go on excluding gay members, though.

I think it's great how the Boyscouts association wasn't forced to accept gay people, but now they're choosing to.

The catholic church will change before the mormons do and pope john paul II did a (relative) good bit for equality of homosexuals in the catholic faith. The new pope did a lot to regress the change jpII did. My dad still remembers a time when it was unacceptable to be in an interracial union in the morman communithy. Catholics are actujally a lot more progressive than people give them credit for. Its mostly leaders who are from an old time holding them back and in time when the new generation comes up you'll see the changes more promianently if not sooner.

Now as to if the bsa will change Ithink they will as long as public interest/pressure holds up. I don't see the big deal as to why they shouldn't allow them entry.

DevilWithaHalo:
As a private organization, the BSA can pretty much do whatever it pleases

That's not true. Being a private organisation doesn't entitle one to breaking the law, for instance by dumping toxic waste in children's playgrounds, or by refusing membership which is normally open on the basis of discriminatory reasons.

emeraldrafael:
Catholics are actujally a lot more progressive than people give them credit for.

I'm not sure how widespread that idea is. Most people seem aware of the differences between catholic people, and the catholic church. Not to mention the difference between countries too.

Gosh, is it the 21st century already?

Blablahb:

DevilWithaHalo:
As a private organization, the BSA can pretty much do whatever it pleases

That's not true. Being a private organisation doesn't entitle one to breaking the law, for instance by dumping toxic waste in children's playgrounds, or by refusing membership which is normally open on the basis of discriminatory reasons.

Actually, private non-profit organizations such as the BSA can discriminate against classes of people in the same way that fraternal organizations are allowed to do so. Whether or not they actually do so is usually a PR matter.

The Gentleman:
Actually, private non-profit organizations such as the BSA can discriminate against classes of people in the same way that fraternal organizations are allowed to do so. Whether or not they actually do so is usually a PR matter.

Bad case. Apparently he didn't seek direct satisfaction, but the liquor license to be withdrawn. That makes it different. Also the dissent was quite clear. Not just that, but the court itself wrote the verdict shouldn't be jurisprudence because it wasn't very clear.

Before a court writes that it shouldn't take a verdict as jurisprudence, a real tangle must've occured. It's actually the first time I've seen that happen.

It would be quite strange for an organisation to be allowed to break the law based on their own policies. I know the US is weird and very different from normal modern legal systems, but surely even the US can't be that weird?

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
Actually, private non-profit organizations such as the BSA can discriminate against classes of people in the same way that fraternal organizations are allowed to do so. Whether or not they actually do so is usually a PR matter.

Bad case. Apparently he didn't seek direct satisfaction, but the liquor license to be withdrawn. That makes it different. Also the dissent was quite clear. Not just that, but the court itself wrote the verdict shouldn't be jurisprudence because it wasn't very clear.

Before a court writes that it shouldn't take a verdict as jurisprudence, a real tangle must've occured. It's actually the first time I've seen that happen.

It would be quite strange for an organisation to be allowed to break the law based on their own policies. I know the US is weird and very different from normal modern legal systems, but surely even the US can't be that weird?

Again, they're not breaking the law. They won that case.

The BSA receives government subsidies so no this shouldn't have been a "choice" but at least it's finally happening.

DaKiller:
The BSA receives government subsidies so no this shouldn't have been a "choice" but at least it's finally happening.

No, the national organization does not receive government subsidies. I can't find figures on local troops and counsels.

So they "consider" going from actively enforcing discrimination, to being fine with discrimination within their ranks?

Yep, still a vile organization. Hopefully the ever greater loss of sponsors will lead to it being shattered by internal differences.

Blablahb:
...
It would be quite strange for an organisation to be allowed to break the law based on their own policies. I know the US is weird and very different from normal modern legal systems, but surely even the US can't be that weird?

When those policies have the protection of a constitutional article, they indirectly come to "outrank" ordinary laws through this protection.

The BSA have made it clear that as an official policy they oppose homosexuality as being immoral, and such an expression is protected under first amendment. As well it should be, a private organization should have every right to choose whatever membership policy it desires: And be denied all public funding, and all respect from decent citizens, when it then chooses a discriminatory one.

DevilWithaHalo:
Considering the BSA isn't really a religious organization anyway...

It's actually had pretty strong ties to Mormonism for a while now, and actively promotes duty to God before country, family, or self. It also doesn't allow in boys who identify as atheists. So... yeah.

The Gentleman:

DaKiller:
The BSA receives government subsidies so no this shouldn't have been a "choice" but at least it's finally happening.

No, the national organization does not receive government subsidies. I can't find figures on local troops and counsels.

The BSA doesn't directly receive money from the government, but it gets access to government facilities for massively discounted prices. They get to use public schools to host meetings (public schools that normally aren't supposed to host organizations that are discriminatory) and military land for their Jamborees, for instance, for just one dollar - and that one comes with aid from military personnel who are being paid for with tax dollars. Like it or not, taxpayers are supporting the BSA and its discriminatory practices.

/Eagle Scout

Tuesday Night Fever:

DevilWithaHalo:
Considering the BSA isn't really a religious organization anyway...

It's actually had pretty strong ties to Mormonism for a while now, and actively promotes duty to God before country, family, or self. It also doesn't allow in boys who identify as atheists. So... yeah.

And there's something about "a scout is reverent" too, so there's that (although one could argue that if a scout is an atheist, they should be honest to that belief, otherwise they are not being reverent).

Tuesday Night Fever:

The Gentleman:

DaKiller:
The BSA receives government subsidies so no this shouldn't have been a "choice" but at least it's finally happening.

No, the national organization does not receive government subsidies. I can't find figures on local troops and counsels.

The BSA doesn't directly receive money from the government, but it gets access to government facilities for massively discounted prices. They get to use public schools to host meetings (public schools that normally aren't supposed to host organizations that are discriminatory) and military land for their Jamborees, for instance, for just one dollar - and that one comes with aid from military personnel who are being paid for with tax dollars. Like it or not, taxpayers are supporting the BSA and its discriminatory practices.

And they have a US congressional charter too (note: does not make them a public organization), but you are correct: there is substantial support for the organization using taxpayer resources. Just not via subsidies.

Tuesday Night Fever:
/Eagle Scout

Side question: What was your Eagle Project?

The Gentleman:
Side question: What was your Eagle Project?

The elementary school in my town was in the process of tearing down its playground due to safety concerns since it was pretty old and falling apart. At the time my town was expanding pretty rapidly, and they needed to construct additional classrooms and hire additional staff... so they didn't have the funds to build a new playground. I conducted some fundraisers to afford materials, and under supervision provided by the school, built them a new playground.

I'm quick to criticize the Boy Scouts for their discrimination, but I do it because at its core it really is a great organization that teaches a lot of valuable life lessons and skills. Those lessons and skills should be available to all boys, not just the ones that a bunch of religious zealots deem worthy.

Imperator_DK:
When those policies have the protection of a constitutional article, they indirectly come to "outrank" ordinary laws through this protection.

There's a part of the US constitution that says "So every private organisation has a right to enact homophobic, racist or otherwise discriminatory policies"?

Freedom of expression doesn't even enter the debate. Discrimination is not an expression, and neither is freedom of expression able to cancel out other rights, like equal treatment and non-discrimination.

If anyone disagrees, go around telling you hate someone you'd pay money to have them killed, or how people should support and enlist for Al Qaida, see if freedom of expression is indeed all-encompassing and overwrites other considerations... ^_^

Blablahb:

Imperator_DK:
When those policies have the protection of a constitutional article, they indirectly come to "outrank" ordinary laws through this protection.

There's a part of the US constitution that says "So every private organisation has a right to enact homophobic, racist or otherwise discriminatory policies"?

Freedom of expression doesn't even enter the debate. Discrimination is not an expression, and neither is freedom of expression able to cancel out other rights, like equal treatment and non-discrimination.

The Constitution does not call for private organizations to treat everyone equally nor does it prohibit discrimination by private organizations.

Blablahb:
If anyone disagrees, go around telling you hate someone you'd pay money to have them killed, or how people should support and enlist for Al Qaida, see if freedom of expression is indeed all-encompassing and overwrites other considerations... ^_^

And what law do you think an American would be prosecuted under for these actions?

Blablahb:

Imperator_DK:
When those policies have the protection of a constitutional article, they indirectly come to "outrank" ordinary laws through this protection.

There's a part of the US constitution that says "So every private organisation has a right to enact homophobic, racist or otherwise discriminatory policies"?

Freedom of association. Organizations have the right to determine their own members.

Seanchaidh:
The Constitution does not call for private organizations to treat everyone equally nor does it prohibit discrimination by private organizations.

That's not how it works. The constitution says nothing about flying aeroplanes into buildings, but the US still takes a rather dim view of doing that.

There's the principle of non-discrimination which is enshrined in both the constitution, law and human rights treaties. You can't get out of obeying those unless you have a very specific legal cadre in which you can discriminate, and that in turn needs to survive and constitional test.

It's not something which is undefined, it's already illegal. The only question is why is the US unwilling to enforce its own laws when it comes to Christian groups discriminating.

Seanchaidh:
And what law do you think an American would be prosecuted under for these actions?

Which article of the criminal law deals with discrimination and illegal exclusion?

Well, that part.

The Gentleman:
Freedom of association. Organizations have the right to determine their own members.

And where is it written that that freedom overwrites the criminal lawbook and all other freedoms?

Forcing someone to accept something they don't like is tyranny, even if it's the wisest course of action. It's still basically telling someone they aren't allowed to hold an opinion that excludes anyone. But sometimes its a necessary evil.

Also I think You've got it reversed: The local level troops usually don't enforce as strictly the rules those up top might. That's just how it works. I'm sure some may do but the majority of ones I interacted with in my life are much more loose about it.

Blablahb:

Seanchaidh:
The Constitution does not call for private organizations to treat everyone equally nor does it prohibit discrimination by private organizations.

That's not how it works. The constitution says nothing about flying aeroplanes into buildings, but the US still takes a rather dim view of doing that.

Supremacy Clause. If there is a right in the Constitution that is contradicted by a law or regulation, then the law or regulation is Unconstitutional.

Blablahb:
There's the principle of non-discrimination which is enshrined in both the constitution,

[Citation needed]

Blablahb:
law and human rights treaties. You can't get out of obeying those unless you have a very specific legal cadre in which you can discriminate, and that in turn needs to survive and constitional test.

[Citation needed]

Blablahb:
It's not something which is undefined, it's already illegal.

[Citation needed]

Seanchaidh:
And what law do you think an American would be prosecuted under for these actions?

Which article of the criminal law deals with discrimination and illegal exclusion?

Well, that part.

For telling people to join Al Qaeda or expressing interest in hiring an assassin? o_0

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
Freedom of association. Organizations have the right to determine their own members.

And where is it written that that freedom overwrites the criminal lawbook and all other freedoms?

Discrimination is not a criminal act. It is unlawful against certain specified classes by certain entities and subject to a civil action and redressable by damages. The only way discrimination even factors into criminal law is when there is a "hate crime" modifier on certain specified criminal charges.

Blablahb:

Imperator_DK:
When those policies have the protection of a constitutional article, they indirectly come to "outrank" ordinary laws through this protection.

There's a part of the US constitution that says "So every private organisation has a right to enact homophobic, racist or otherwise discriminatory policies"?

Freedom of expression doesn't even enter the debate. Discrimination is not an expression, and neither is freedom of expression able to cancel out other rights, like equal treatment and non-discrimination.

If anyone disagrees, go around telling you hate someone you'd pay money to have them killed, or how people should support and enlist for Al Qaida, see if freedom of expression is indeed all-encompassing and overwrites other considerations... ^_^

The Constitution does not protect people from discrimination or guarantee equal treatment by private organizations. The Constitution really only protects us from the government. I'm not saying that you shouldn't argue your point, but everybody needs to stop going to the Constitution first thing. We have like, thousands upon thousands of other laws. Not to mention that we create new ones every day. Everybody, and I mean everybody, needs to be more creative in these arguments.

vgmaster831:
The Constitution does not protect people from discrimination or guarantee equal treatment by private organizations. The Constitution really only protects us from the government.

Kind of. The vast majority of it pertains to the very general structure of the Federal government (and some state government operations under Amendment XIV). Certain provisions, such as Amendment XIII ban on slavery and indentured servitude, apply to all within the jurisdiction of the US, not just the Federal or State governments.

emeraldrafael:
The catholic church will change before the mormons do and pope john paul II did a (relative) good bit for equality of homosexuals in the catholic faith. The new pope did a lot to regress the change jpII did. My dad still remembers a time when it was unacceptable to be in an interracial union in the morman communithy. Catholics are actujally a lot more progressive than people give them credit for. Its mostly leaders who are from an old time holding them back and in time when the new generation comes up you'll see the changes more promianently if not sooner.

Now as to if the bsa will change Ithink they will as long as public interest/pressure holds up. I don't see the big deal as to why they shouldn't allow them entry.

As a Catholic, I can tell ya' this.

There is a LOT of politics that goes on in the Catholic Church. The two "factions" are the traditionalists and progressives. John Paul II can be placed more in the progressive camp, while Benedict XVI is much more in the conservative camp. The problem is that the conservatives gained a bit of ground after John Paul II's reforms came into place because it was, supposedly, what gave rise to "Cafeteria Catholicism" (I.E. Catholics who only went to church on Christmas/Easter and never any other time) and so the Traditionalists gained a few more members who were worried that the Catholic church would be defunct because the liberals would cause the church to, in a way, destroy itself.

Although I still consider Catholicism's heavy centralization a source of pride. It handles things in an organized, uniform, and governmental style, with priests usually having to obey the will of the church on Spiritual Matters. This allows changes to come about more easily. The problem with, say, Baptism is that there's no real interconnectedness between the churches. Sure they may form temporary "councils" but those hardly are the law of the land, and that's why you'll see such a major difference between Baptists such as Martin Luther King's congregation, and the Westboro Baptist Church. They have no common guide or rules to obey, and in the end each minister is king of his own congregation.

Still, there are some Traditionalist views I can appreciate. Personally I think we should bring back Latin as "The Language of The Church" and teach it in Catholic Schools, simply because it's a beautiful and elegant language, and a great way of making the church distinct from other "sects".

I still prefer saying "in nomine patris et filii et spiritus sancti" over "In the Name of the Father, The Son, and The Holy Spirit".

This is a pathetic excuse for the national organization to deny responsibility, while happily allowing bigotry to persist at the local level. Wake me when they take an actual stand against discrimination like the Girl Scouts have.

cobra_ky:
This is a pathetic excuse for the national organization to deny responsibility, while happily allowing bigotry to persist at the local level. Wake me when they take an actual stand against discrimination like the Girl Scouts have.

So allowing local control to allow more enlightened troops to let Gay/Lesbian members/leaders in isn't progress? Considering the number of troops which are charted by religious organizations, some of whom would revolt over a mandate to let gay or lesbian members in, this is probably the best option which allows troops the maximum flexibility with the least overall pushback. Had they gone with a more sweeping mandate, they could have potentially crippled the organization as the hard-line religiously chartered scout groups either dissolved or broke away.

Regardless, gay scouts can now join troops and gay adults can be leaders. That is one hell of a change.

The Gentleman:
Discrimination is not a criminal act. It is unlawful against certain specified classes by certain entities and subject to a civil action and redressable by damages. The only way discrimination even factors into criminal law is when there is a "hate crime" modifier on certain specified criminal charges.

The US would be a legal exception in that case, and open its legal system open for legal discrimination against anyone without the means to finance an expensive lawsuits. So I doubt it. There's also a whole civil rights division in the US department of justice.

They even name discrimination in 'public places of entertainment' (so groups like the boyscouts obviously fall under it for being open to the public and being at least in part to entertain kids) as examples of a crime on their website.

The Gentleman:
Had they gone with a more sweeping mandate, they could have potentially crippled the organization as the hard-line religiously chartered scout groups either dissolved or broke away.

It's only progress in the sense that being 90% wrong and bigoted is 'better' than being 100% wrong and bigoted.

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
Discrimination is not a criminal act. It is unlawful against certain specified classes by certain entities and subject to a civil action and redressable by damages. The only way discrimination even factors into criminal law is when there is a "hate crime" modifier on certain specified criminal charges.

The US would be a legal exception in that case, and open its legal system open for legal discrimination against anyone without the means to finance an expensive lawsuits. So I doubt it. There's also a whole civil rights division in the US department of justice.

The Civil Rights Division sues on the behalf of individuals amd is wholly separate from the Criminal Division. The idea is to have the force of the federal government behind it as if it was a federal crime (although it is not criminal).

Blablahb:
They even name discrimination in 'public places of entertainment' (so groups like the boyscouts obviously fall under it for being open to the public and being at least in part to entertain kids) as examples of a crime on their website.

Again, you're using a word ("crime") that does not apply.

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
Had they gone with a more sweeping mandate, they could have potentially crippled the organization as the hard-line religiously chartered scout groups either dissolved or broke away.

It's only progress in the sense that being 90% wrong and bigoted is 'better' than being 100% wrong and bigoted.

"It's not perfect, ergo damn the whole system." This is the gist of what I am getting from this comment, whether you intended it or not.

Sorry, but I live in the real world, where you don't kill your company or organization just because it is the right thing to do if you can still make a partial change for the better and preserve the company/organization. There are times for rapid change and there are times for incremental ones. Scouting is not an organization that can change whole policy based on a rapid order and expect to survive the a month later, especially when such large portion are attached to religious groups that may have divergent views on the acceptance of homosexuality. In time, as the leadership of the organization changes and the social mores of the individual scouts become more socially liberal, that may change, but, for now, they have made a massive step in the right direction.

Not to mention that any such action, were it to result in a significant dissolution/break away/destruction of the organization, head leadership may have been in breach of their fiduciary duty to the organization. Like I said, this was the best possible solution at this time that is likely to have the most benefit and least blow back.

The Gentleman:
"It's not perfect, ergo damn the whole system." This is the gist of what I am getting from this comment, whether you intended it or not

It has nothing to do with being perfect. Not having such open discriminatory policies for no reason other than bigoted hatred, is pretty much the absolute bare minimum any respectable organisation is held to.

If you want to compare it, maybe something else is in order. Suppose the Ku Klux Klan stood up and said "Hey, we're really respectable and deserve indirect government subsidies. We may hate black people, but we no longer lynch them. That's a lot of progress!".

Who in their right mind would say that change has indeed made the klan respectable?
So why should the boyscouts suddenly have become respectable?

Blablahb:

The Gentleman:
"It's not perfect, ergo damn the whole system." This is the gist of what I am getting from this comment, whether you intended it or not

It has nothing to do with being perfect. Not having such open discriminatory policies for no reason other than bigoted hatred, is pretty much the absolute bare minimum any respectable organisation is held to.

If you want to compare it, maybe something else is in order. Suppose the Ku Klux Klan stood up and said "Hey, we're really respectable and deserve indirect government subsidies. We may hate black people, but we no longer lynch them. That's a lot of progress!".

Who in their right mind would say that change has indeed made the klan respectable?
So why should the boyscouts suddenly have become respectable?

Are you seriously comparing excluding gays from activities to lynching and terrorism on the basis of race?

And as for being a respectable organization, did you ever ask yourself why a gay kid (or any kid for that matter) would want to be a scout? It's not like all they do is discriminate against gays...

I, for one, am more proud than ever to be part of the Boy Scouts of America now that it is supporting it's gay members. And I'm glad that one of my close friends who is an Eagle Scout didn't send in their flag. Also, I'm very proud to be a boy scout today, and I feel pretty lucky that it was made okay to be gay with my Eagle Board of Review coming up.

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