Skip to comments.Philadelphia Council Flouts Scouts' Antigay Stance
Posted on 05/29/2003 6:26:27 AM PDT by South Hawthorne
Defying the national Boy Scouts policy of refusing membership to gays, the board of the Scouts' largest Philadelphia-area council has unanimously voted not to discriminate against homosexuals.
The decision puts the local council at odds with the national organization, which holds that homosexuality is inconsistent with the traditional moral values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law.
But the Cradle of Liberty Council, the nation's third largest - serving 87,000 youths in Philadelphia, Delaware and Montgomery Counties - this month added "sexual orientation" to its policy of nondiscrimination.
The conflict between the national and local organizations is sure to spark discussion at the National Convention of the Boy Scouts of America, which begins today at the Convention Center and continues through Saturday.
"We disagree with the national stance, and we're not comfortable with the stated national policy," said David H. Lipson Jr., board chairman of the Cradle of Liberty Council. "That's why we're working on a solution that works for everyone."
No one at the national office of the Boy Scouts of America in Texas could be reached for comment late yesterday.
In June 2000, a divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled, in the case of a New Jersey assistant scoutmaster who was expelled for being gay, that the Boy Scouts had the right to bar homosexuals as troop leaders.
The national Boy Scouts of America issued a statement saying it viewed the decision as a victory.
Lipson said that national policy hurt fund-raising and cost jobs locally. The Pew Charitable Trusts, among others, reduced its contribution, he said, though he did not say how much it had given to the local Boy Scouts.
No one at Pew was available to comment.
Although the United Way did not cut funding, it took heat from gay-rights activists and others. The agency funded a development program organized by the Boy Scouts that operated in public schools and was open to anyone. Even the limited funding caused problems.
"The reality is, we did get some pressure from other groups who said, 'This program may not discriminate, but this organization does,' " said Christine James-Brown, president of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania.
The United Way served as a catalyst. Two years ago, the agency's representatives - along with local Boy Scout executives and community leaders, including gay and lesbian activists - began to meet to discuss the issue.
The statement issued this month by the Cradle of Liberty Council was a result of those discussions.
David L. Cohen, a Comcast executive who was chairman of the local United Way from May 1998 to 2001, was a participant. Cohen said that Philadelphia leaders decided they did not want to accept a policy that they did not agree with and that was harming the programs intended for area youths.
"We were not prepared to allow our kids to be casualties on the battlefield of adults who should know better," Cohen said.
James-Brown said the local United Way campaign spent a lot of time trying to understand the national policy.
"In the very beginning, people knew very little about why the national had that policy," James-Brown said. "There was anger about the policy. I think people set that aside and said, 'Let's try to make it work in this community.' "
Lipson said he did not want the gay-discrimination controversy to overshadow the many good programs the Boy Scouts offer.
"We'd like to move the discussion to standards for sexual conduct rather than sexual orientation," Lipson said.
Philadelphia's is not the first regional council to flout the controversial policies of the national Boy Scouts organization, or to have suffered consequences from the national policy.
In July 2001, the Boston Minuteman Council approved a bylaw that challenged the national council's policy. The rule effectively allows gay youths to be scouts and gay men to serve as scout leaders as long as they do not openly reveal or discuss their sexual orientation.
In December 2001, United Way boards in Ventura and Los Angeles Counties in California cut off funding to the local Boy Scout councils because of the national policy about gays.
Guns Before Butter.
Guns Before Butter.
Guns Before Butter.
And I am certain that N.A.M.B.L.A. views this local decision as a victory.
...That's the militants main goal! Militant Homo's want for people to believe that the lifestyle is normal, and therefore they should not be excluded from any activity. It goes along with their selfish attitude towards everything in life.
These are pervertedly sickminded people, trapped into a mindset of expedience.
Easy! "These attacks are caused by our intolerant society. We need to establish re-education camps where young heterosexuals can live in close proximity with homosexual men. In this way, the young heterosexuals will learn the errors of their ways and will not grow up to be closeted homosexuals who are uncomfortable with their own sexuality."
This Council is out of control and their executive board is worse. For all of you PA FR each council has a web page and on that you can find the contact information for the paid scouters at council. It would be well worth your effort to send them email or snail-mail to express your disgust and at the same time send snail-mail to the national headquarters expressing your disgust at this council's behavior. Just might get them taken to the wood-shed by national headquarters. The national headquarters has a web site with contact information for sanil-mail but I don't remember it.
Didn't the Catholic Church adopt a policy similar to the Valley Forge Council's a few years back? Wonder how that worked out?