Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Boy Scout's Gay Survey

As it continues its struggle over whether to reverse a long standing policy denying gay leaders and gay scouts membership, the Boy Scouts of America has released a survey to 1.4 million volunteers, parents of scouts and alumni.

The survey, created by a third party, identifies realistic scenarios that may be encountered if the scouts lift their ban. The survey strikes me as fair, even handed and realistic. Here are the six questions along with how I would answer them and why.

Bob is 15 years old, and the only openly gay Scout in a Boy Scout troop. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the troop leader to allow Bob to tent with a heterosexual boy on an overnight camping trip?

It's acceptable unless the heterosexual boy objects. What you wouldn't allow is two gay 15 year olds to share a tent just like you wouldn't allow a 15 year old boy and a 15 year old girl to share a tent.

Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award at 16 years of age. At his board of review Tom reveals that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?

It's unacceptable. Tom did the work and he deserves the award that he worked for.

A gay male troop leader, along with another adult leader, is taking a group of boys on a camping trip following the youth protection guidelines of two-deep leadership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the gay adult leader to take adolescent boys on an overnight camping trip?

It's acceptable. No one should be the lone adult on an overnight camping trip for many, many reasons including simple propriety and safety. As long as there is a second adult along, I see no problem with this. The sexual orientations of the adults strikes me as irrelevant.
A troop is chartered by an organization that does not believe homosexuality is wrong and allows gays to be ministers. The youth minister traditionally serves as the Scoutmaster for the troop. The congregation hires a youth minister who is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this youth minister to serve as the Scoutmaster? 

It's acceptable. Why the hell would it be unacceptable under these conditions?

Johnny, a first grade boy, has joined Tiger Cubs with his friends. Johnny’s friends and their parents unanimously nominate Johnny’s mom, who is known by them to be lesbian, to be the den leader. Johnny’s pack is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith does not teach that homosexuality is wrong. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for his mother to serve as a den leader for his Cub Scout den?

It's acceptable. Again, why the hell would it not be acceptable?

David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member in the troop and is denied membership. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?

It's acceptable. The troop should be allowed to remain true to their own beliefs regardless of how misguided some of us may believe those beliefs to be.

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