Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons joins families, Scouts, and others in supporting LGBT youth by calling for an end to discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA)
January 22, 2013
Affirmation: Gay & Lesbian Mormons wants LGBT young men to be able to participate fully in the youth programs of their wards in accordance with Church policy, but the current BSA policy prohibits this. We urge the BSA to adopt a proposal that would allow sponsoring organizations, including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, to set the standards of membership for their own troops. We ask you to stand up with us to support this worthy goal.
In 1992, The Boy Scouts of America released an official statement prohibiting gay people from acting in leadership positions, formalizing a decade of discriminatory decisions. The statement reads in part: “We believe homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirement in the Scout Oath that a Scout should be morally straight … homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts.”
Regardless of the organization’s historical beliefs about homosexuality, thousands of gay individuals have participated in the Boy Scouts of America over the years as both leaders and Scouts, including many members of Affirmation.
One Affirmation member and Eagle Scout, Trevor Cook, describes his experience, “Scouting was a big part of my life growing up. I was a member of a very active, outdoorsy troop, and some of my best young memories are from our hikes and campouts.
“Maybe my Scouting experience was positive in part because I kept my sexual orientation secret through my teens. My being gay did not interfere with my normal participation in the program, but constant exposure to society’s denigration of homosexuality–including the Scouts’ policy–added to the heavy emotional burden I carried growing up.”
Hopefully, young people will soon be able to enjoy the benefits of Scouting without having to endure the effects of a needless policy of discrimination: after receiving over 275,000 signatures collected by Eagle Scout and founder of Scouts For Equality Zach Wahls on May 5th 2012, the BSA undertook to consider a resolution that would allow individual troops to accept gay adults as troop leaders. They are expected to vote on it by next week.
Friends, brothers, sisters and families, add your voice and stand up for your values right NOW.
Affirmation prays that the BSA will revise its policy to allow full participation of gay LDS youth in Scouting activities and bring it into alignment with the Church’s own policies of full inclusion of youth, regardless of sexual orientation.
Here’s your chance to have your voice heard and be counted; for equality in Scouting, please take a moment to do both and advance equality:
- Send a short, respectful and positive email clearly voicing your support for removing the ban to [email protected] Include your own experience with Scouting, whether as member, leader, parent, or community member. If comfortable doing so, include the descriptor “Mormon” after your name so the voice for equality can be heard from within the Church.
- Phone 972-580-2330. Ask to have your opinion recorded and that you wish to support lifting the ban on gay, bisexual and non-religious members from the BSA Sexual Orientation Policy. Be prepared to spend some time on the phone – but remember that the longer you have to wait on the line, the more effective our efforts will be.
Additional groups supporting full participation of LGBT Scouts: