I am a proud Eagle Scout. I'm also the proud son of two lesbian moms. It's time for those two things to stop being contradictory.
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) have announced that a "secret committee" has confirmed the Scouts' long-standing policy barring openly LGBT individuals from involvement in its organization, either as youth participants or adult leaders. This shocking "announcement" comes on the heels of a three-month campaign against that policy by various groups -- including Scouts for Equality, of which I am a co-founder -- and people like Jennifer Tyrrell, a gay den mother ousted from the Boy Scouts in April.
Secret committees do not speak for three million Scouts.
Last month, I delivered nearly 300,000 petition signatures to the Boy Scouts' annual convention, and days later, a resolution was introduced that could allow openly gay scouts and leaders for the first time in the history of the BSA. But instead of allowing that resolution to be voted on by the executive board, the BSA instead decided to maintain their anti-gay ban without a vote. Because a secret committee said so.
Above all, what's most disappointing is the secretive nature surrounding how this “decision” was reached. The very first value of the Scout Law is that a Scout is trustworthy. There is absolutely nothing trustworthy about unelected and unnamed committee members who are unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.
In June, an Associated Press story said that BSA spokesperson Deron Smith indicated that "the process would likely be completed by May 2013" at the next annual BSA convention. But that was before two prominent BSA executive board members -- Ernst & Young CEO Jim Turley and AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson -- announced that they would oppose the ban and work to overturn it.
Something here doesn't add up.
We need transparency. We need accountability. More than 3 million individuals deserve more than the one-off musings of a subcommittee that has supposedly existed for more than two years but has not published a single report, has published no minutes and has, as far as anyone can tell, no official documentation.
That's why I've started this petition demanding that the Boy Scouts of America allow the resolution to allow openly gay scouts and leaders to come to a vote at the next BSA convention, in May of 2013.
A secret committee should not silence the voices of hundreds of thousands of Americans. Let the BSA Executive Committee decide--let the resolution come to a vote in May 2013.
Zach Wahls started this petition with a single signature, and now has 152,977 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.