Issue a Statement against BSA's discrimination policy
  • Petitioned Green Mountain Council

This petition was delivered to:

Green Mountain Council
Scout Executive, Green Mountain Council
Ed McCollin
Program Director, Green Mountain Council
Peter Ashworth

Issue a Statement against BSA's discrimination policy

    1. Kelley Di Dio
    2. Petition by

      Kelley Di Dio

      Essex Junction, VT

Our son has been in cub scouts for the past four years and my husband has been a scout leader for the past two years. As a family, we feel strongly that there is a much to be gained from the activities and other learning activities that scouting provides.

As such, over the past two years, as the BSA was "investigating" whether it would allow gays to participate in scouts, I was absolutely sure that the organization would make a decision that was morally and ethically sound, for the betterment of the organization and, most importantly, the betterment of all of the participants in scouts. Instead, the BSA decided to perpetuate hate and discrimination, sending the message that Boy Scouts, unlike the military and just about any other institution in the United States, should only be for boys that fit into some narrowly prescribed definition of maleness, an artificially homogenous construct with no sociological merit or value.

Our experience with Boy Scouts has been that it would not be acceptable to exclude a boy of a different race, ethnicity or religious affiliation from participation in any Boy Scout den, pack or activity. It is impossible to rationalize the exclusion of a boy based on sexual orientation (an orientation, by the way, which many boys don't identify until later middle-school or early high school years, when most have lost interest in participating in scouts). We take just as much issue with the idea that no leaders should be gay. The exclusion of gays from Boy Scouts appears only to be the perpetuation of an outdated, discriminatory, hate-filled agenda.

Thankfully, Vermont has always been at the forefront of progress, valuing differences, equality and fairness. Vermont was on the forefront of improving civil rights policies for minorities, the first state to legalize civil unions, and among the first to legalize gay marriages. In this same spirit of progress and open-mindedness, the Green Mountain Council should speak out against the BSA's policy and issue its own statement of inclusion. We ask that a statement be issued as soon as possible in order to begin reestablishing the now-scarred reputation of the Boy Scouts in our state.

If such a statement is not issued, and if the Green Mountain Council intends to support the discrimination policy of the Boy Scouts of America, we will end our affiliation with scouting, as will others in our den and pack. We have faith that such action won't be necessary and that our sons can continue to enjoy the many positive aspects of scouting, and see that the Green Mountain Council, at least, truly lives up to the Cub Scout motto of "Do your best." Surely, "doing your best" would mean teaching boys to have open minds and value all people and their differences.

Recent signatures

    News

    1. Thank you for your support.

      Kelley Di Dio
      Petition Organizer

      We have reached our signature goal (and then some) and the Green Mountain Council issued their inclusion policy on their website. While we are certainly relieved that the Council disagrees with the BSA policy, we hope that they will make their inclusion policy be more publicly announced. The BSA must change and we should all continue to fight for that--for our sons, fellow parents, and for the betterment of our country.

      I invite each of you to support Scouts for Equality, an organization that seeks to fight the BSA policy at the national level.

      Many thanks to all of you for helping in the fight.

    2. Reached 100 signatures
    3. Green Mountain Council/BSA Statement

      Kelley Di Dio
      Petition Organizer

      Some success: The Green Mountain Council issued a statement regarding their inclusion policy and its reaffirmation in July 2012.

      We urge the GMC to reiterate its policy at the pack and den levels to make sure no discrimination occurs based on the BSA national policy.

    4. update

      Kelley Di Dio
      Petition Organizer

      After receiving a discouraging message from a local scout leader this evening, I have contacted the Green Mountain Council urging them to issue a public statement decrying the BSA policy and to contact and train its leaders about GMC's much more tolerant and respectful non-discrimination policy to ensure a more accepting climate for Vermont scouts and leaders.

      Please continue to share the petition so that it can be forwarded on to the GMC!

    5. letter from GMC

      Kelley Di Dio
      Petition Organizer

      I received a letter from the Council this morning. I was very encouraged by what was contained in the letter. He sent me the Council's non-discrimination policy, which is a well-written, thoughtful document.

      A portion of the statement reads: Scouting values include respect for the dignity of individuals and acceptance of
      beliefs, characteristics and customs that are different.
      • Scouting teaches tolerance and promotes diversity, and asks those with a
      differing viewpoint to accord Scouting the same respect.
      • The Green Mountain Council, Boy Scouts of America does not inquire into the
      sexual orientation of existing or prospective members, youth or adult.

      My response to him was that I would ask that they reaffirm that statement in the public media and meet with the packs in the Unit to assure that the boys (and leaders) understand and comply with the GMC's policy, not that of the BSA
      Do you think we should do more?

    6. Reached 50 signatures

    Supporters

    Reasons for signing

    • Robert Coates SOUTH POMFRET, VT
      • over 1 year ago

      I am a former Eagle Scout with two young sons. I can not in good conscience participate in Woodstock BSA Troop 220 with now still a BSA policy of discriminating against gay leaders. What sense does it make to allow gay scouts and then when they want to give back to scouting, say they are suddenly not eligible to be a scout leader? BSA needs to catch up to the military and states who are embracing equality for gays and lesbians. I am turn my scout leading experience to starting a Navigator Scouts USA chapter in Woodstock, a co-ed scouting program which does not discriminate against gays and lesbians.

      There is a developing chasm between local troops who do not want to teach their kids discrimination and BSA Texas policy. I regret not being able to stay with BSA Scouting but it is time to move on and still give my kids and other kids a scouting experience.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Tasha Hutchins TULSA, OK
      • over 1 year ago

      I am a current Cub Master and believe the ban needs to go away

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • John Olszewski NORWICH, VT
      • over 1 year ago

      I'm an Eagle Scout and father of 3 Boy Scouts in Norwich VT. The policy is wrong and is against all that Scouting is supposed to be about.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Sarah DeGuise FAIRFIELD, VT
      • over 1 year ago

      i have been my son's den leader for 3 years since he started in cub scouts, and seem to be the only person on the planet that was not aware of this policy. now, i find myself in a moral quandry. i love the scouting program, but cannot abide the fact that i am a leader in an anti-gay organization, and have signed my 8 year old son to be a member.

      my son harry was apalled when he heard. we have friends in our church who are gay; good people who serve god and their country, who have had us into their homes, and been there for us in our hour of need. how can i hold my head up in front of my child, and turn my back on them?

      harry told me that bsa's policy is "like when black kids weren't allowed to go to school with white kids! it's not fair." i was proud of his accurate observation, and told him so. i told him that we love scouts, and need to try and change this policy of injustice. who are we, if we are not true to our fellow man?

      please. scouting is, i believe, good for my son, and we want to continue to be a part of it. this injustice must not continue.

      sincerely,

      sarah deguise

      pack 874-den 6hy is this important to you? (Optional)

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:
    • Krista Flavin BENNINGTON, VT
      • over 1 year ago

      I myself was in girl scouts and taught a boys camp in eden,VT. I would not want to keep the fun those boys had aways from someone with a different sexual orientation, it would not be fair to exclude them from these experiences. If they are not allowed to express who they stating they are not homosexual. Everyone should be comfortable with who they really are.

      REPORT THIS COMMENT:

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