Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Boy Scouts reaffirm ban on gays

From the AP via the Houston Chronicle:

The Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, contended that most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both leaders and Scouts.

"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," Mazzuca said. "We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

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."

More here.

My best guess is that the Boy Scouts will allow open GLBTQ individuals to participate within a decade or so, maybe a bit sooner, maybe a bit later, but I just don't see it not ever happening. Indeed, what some have called "the fastest civil rights movement in history" has made some breathtaking gains in recent years, what with multiple states legalizing gay marriage and the military ending DADT. But the movement isn't through yet. There continues to be a great deal of cultural resistance to the mainstreaming of gay Americans.

And the BSA is essentially a conservative operation. I've always smiled when I remember the moment in the 80s patriot flick Red Dawn when the Cuban military commander describes the Boy Scouts as "a paramilitary organization." Because, you know, that's kind of what it is. They wear military style uniforms, hierarchically embrace a military organizational structure, award medals and badges, go on maneuvers in the wilderness, and on and on. During the height of the Cold War, scouting was all the fucking rage. For white people, at least. These days, it's strictly for kids from mostly conservative families, families who want to instill these kinds of values in their children--to be fair, I'm a liberal, and if I had a son, I'd encourage him to check out the BSA, but as one of those old school bedrock American organizations, the Boy Scouts are definitely coming from an old school point of view. Mazzuca is very likely correct when he says the ban on gays in scouting is what these kids' families want.

On the other hand, this policy is very clearly bigoted and discriminatory. And therefore exceedingly lame. But like I said, give it about ten years. The gay rights snowball continues to roll.