It's been ten years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts could ban openly gay people from serving as scout leaders. Though he was in the minority opinion, Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens said at the time that discriminating against anyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, is contrary to the mission and philosophy of the Boy Scouts of America.
The Boy Scouts of America bill themselves as an organization dedicated to building character and responsibility in America's youth. But keeping a policy that openly discriminates against gays and lesbians fails to deliver on that promise. Teaching kids that gays and lesbians don't belong is no way to inspire future leaders. It also deprives kids of well-qualified leaders.
Recently a case in Vermont, where two moms were told that they could not lead their son's scouting troop because they were a same-sex couple, brought the Boy Scouts discriminatory policy back into the public limelight. Ten years after getting permission from the U.S. Supreme Court to ban gays and lesbians, the Boy Scouts should move toward inclusion. Times have changed. There are many children living with LGBT parents, or many children with LGBT mentors. Those parents and mentors would make great leaders for our children...if only given the chance by the Boy Scouts of America.
As a recent case in Vermont shows, these potential scout leaders are still excluded from the Boy Scouts. In Vermont, two moms applied to be leaders for their son's scouting troop. They were told they could not do this, solely on the basis of their sexual orientation.
In response to this case, more than 25 members of the U.S. House of Representatives, including several who were former Scouts, sent your office a letter, urging you to reconsider your organization's ban on gay and lesbian leaders. In their letter, these representatives said, "We think the Boy Scouts would encourage all parents to take an active involvement in their children's Scouting life." By all parents, that should include gay and lesbian parents, too.
The Boy Scouts are dedicated to fostering among America's youth a sense of responsibility and integrity. But discrimination can't go hand-in-hand with those two concepts. By failing to include all eligible and well-qualified people from scouting, your organization is telling America's children that it's permissible to view people as "others," based solely on their sexual orientation.
Please consider changing this policy. It has been ten years since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that your organization could ban gay and lesbian leaders from scouting. Ten years is a long time, and times have changed. There are more children in gay and lesbian parent households than ever before. Shouldn't the Boy Scouts welcome these families?
Thank you for your time.