10 May 2014

BSA Finally Made a Stand Against Gays

When you thought everything was lost, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) made a crucial conservative move that saved the day.

Former Scoutmaster Geoff McGrath, 49, found out this week that the BSA is totally serious about its ban on openly gay scout leaders. After BSA learned that McGrath was being by NBC News as an openly gay scout leader, they sent McGrath a letter saying he was banned for "making an issue" out of the fact that he is gay.

In the letter sent to McGrath, the BSA said the scout leader violated his organization's de facto "don't ask, don't tell" policy:
The BSA does not permit open or avowed homosexuals to serve as volunteer leaders. The BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of its volunteer leaders, and the BSA respects everyone's right to privacy. The BSA also respects everyone's right to hold a different point of view. But if a volunteer makes an issue out of his or her sexual orientation—especially to the youth we serve—then that volunteer is no longer eligible for to be a registered leader.
National Journal noted that the BSA have become a battleground for conservative Christians on one side and gay-rights supporters on the other. After much hand-wringing last spring, the Boy Scouts of America decided to end its ban on openly gay scouts. However, the organization still reserves the right to ban openly gay scout leaders, who are volunteers. As of 1 January 2014, the Boy Scouts declared that "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone."

John Stemberger, a longtime Boy Scout leader who led the fight to maintain the rule for boys and who went on to found a rival Scouting group, told Breitbart News, "It is commendable that the BSA appears to be enforcing its policy when they learn of a violation from the media." Stemberger went on to issue a warning: "But the real question is whether this removed Scoutmaster will become a plaintiff in a lawsuit to challenge the new membership policy. It is only a matter of time before a court somewhere will order them to allow openly homosexual adults also because they abandoned the constitutional protection they had in BSA v. Dale with the new policy allowing just youth."

BSA v. Dale was the Supreme Court case that allowed the Boy Scouts to keep their policy of banning open gays as members and leaders. The ruling centered on the private nature of the Boy Scouts, even though the Scouts received some benefits of government including use of government buildings for meetings.