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 The exclusion of gays from Boy Scouts appears only to be the perpetuation of an outdated, discriminatory, hate-filled agenda.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.
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