Action Item: Write Boy Scouts of America to End Anti-LGBTQ Ban

We would like to ask Presbyterian churches with boy scout and cub scout troops and parents of scouts to write their regional offices to request a reversal of the current policy banning openly gay leaders and scouts. The deadline is April 5, but if you miss the deadline, please write anyway.

In January 2013, the Board of Directors of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) met, reportedly with the intent of possibly ending its absolute ban on gay members and leaders. There was speculation in the media that the Board might adopt a new policy of allowing a “local option” in these matters. The decision was deferred until May, 2013.

Presbyterian churches and parents have an opportunity to influence an upcoming decision by the BSA on whether to reverse their current “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy of refusing membership or employment to people who are openly gay. Until April 5, regional Boy Scout council offices will be taking input from parents and sponsoring organizations. That input will be sent to the BSA national leadership, who will make a decision in May.

Urgent Action Requested

  • As part of the review process, you may have received a survey from the council office in your region. We urge you to fill it out and encourage the Scouts to adhere to its underlying policy of inclusiveness by reversing the anti-LGBTQ policy.
  • And regardless of whether you have filled out a survey, we urge you and your church to write a letter to the BSA Executive at your troop’s council office, with copies to the national BSA organization. Your letter should explain your church’s relationship with the BSA and advocate inclusiveness in the BSA, including reversal of the policy.
  • Please also send letters to the National Association of Presbyterian Scouters (NAPS) with your views. Contact information for NAPS can be found at their website.

Sample Letter

[Your address here]

[Date]

[Address of Chief Executive of your Boy Scout Regional Council]

Dear ________ :

I am writing in response to the January 28, 2013 Boy Scouts of America press release, stating that the BSA is discussing removing the national membership restriction regarding sexual orientation.

Please do reverse this policy. This policy has hurt the mission of the BSA and has stigmatized members of the LGBT community.

Our church, ______ Church in ___[your town or city]__, __[your state], holds the charter for a Boy Scout pack and troop. As a Church and as a charter holder for the BSA, we want to serve all youth regardless of sexual orientation. As Presbyterians, we have struggled for decades to become a denomination welcome to all. We disagree with former BSA executive Bob Mazzuca’s statement that “… a majority of our membership agrees with our policy…” This policy has diminished Scouting and has kept families from becoming involved in a discriminatory organization.

We hope and pray that the BSA will change its national membership policy to welcome leaders and scouts, regardless of sexual orientation.

We understand that this policy discussion is nearing its final stages in preparation for review at the BSA National Executive Board and Committee Meetings next month in Texas. Please pass my comments along to the members of the National Board and relevant committees.

(If you miss the April 5 deadline, we urge you to write anyway.  But instead of writing to your regional executive with a copy to the national executive, send your letter to the national executive with a copy to your regional executive.)

See Also:

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