This morning I caught up with Paula Blackmon, chief of staff for Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings, and asked whether the mayor has a position on the Boy Scouts of America’s proposal to lift its national ban on gay Scouts and leaders. The BSA’s National Executive Board, which is meeting in Irving this week, is expected to vote Wednesday on whether to lift the ban and instead leave it up to local Scout troops whether to allow gays.
Blackmon said she recently discussed the issue with Rawlings and was speaking based on her conversation with him. She stopped short of saying the Scouts should lift the gay ban but indicated repeatedly that the mayor believes the BSA needs to take a hard look at its current policy.
“We never like to tell people how to run their organization,” Blackmon said, adding that the mayor did have some insight for the Scouts.
“When you see a dropoff in your customers or people participating in your program, then obviously your model of doing things is not what the market allows, it’s not what people want,” she said. “With that being said, they need to take a hard look at their policy, and they need to be pretty honest.
“He’s never going to be the one to say, ‘Such and such needs to do this, or such and such needs to do that,’” Blackmon said. “They need to take a very hard look at that policy.
“I hope it doesn’t take the mayor telling them to change. I think 1.4 million signatures is a pretty loud statement,” Blackmon said, referring to the petitions that were dropped off at BSA headquarters on Monday.
“To deny somebody an Eagle Scout award because of their sexual orientation, that does more harm … That doesn’t fit with their mission — to create strong leaders in the community,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s going to take the mayor saying, ‘Lift this ban.’ I think [it's] the mayor saying, ‘You need to think really hard and look where you want to go and what you want to look like and where you are.’ … Their model is out of date.”