Boy Scouts nondiscrimination policy is in print

ScoutsDallas Voice publisher Leo Cusimano, an Eagle Scout, enrolled his younger son in the Cub Scouts this week, but not before reading the application.

On the page headed Boy Scouts of America Information for Parents, he found the Policy of Nondiscrimination:

Youth membership in the BSA is open to all boys and young adults who meet the joining requirements. Membership in Scouting advancement and achievement of leadership in Scouting units are open to all youth without regard to race, ethnic background, or sexual orientation, and are based on individual merit.

But Cusimano wanted to double check and make sure the Den Father understood his son has two fathers.

“Yeah, this is Kessler Park,” he said. “No problem.”

—  David Taffet

Boy Scouts will lead NYC Pride march

BSAIrving-based Boy Scouts of America have been sentinels standing fast against the gay scourge since at least 1978, when the official policy of the group began prohibiting gay scouts and parents from participating in the program. Despite a few gestures of tolerance in recent months, the BSA is not exactly an all-inclusive organization. That said, the 104-year-old Greater New York Councils of the BSA has an express policy never to exclude anyone from its members troops for reasons of sexual orientation. “We strongly believe that both gay adults and youth must be welcomed in Scouting,” the councils assert.

Still, it’s a pretty significant thing that New York City’s upcoming Pride march will be led by active and former members of the Boy Scouts, GLAAD announced. They will lead the 14,000 participants down Fifth Avenue in support of gay rights.

Of course, while that might not be the official policy set forth from Texas HQ, the BSA’s new president, Robert Gates, has said the national group would support local councils’ decisions on gay leadership.

The march takes place on Sunday.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Dallas church kicks out Boy Scout troop for gay admission policy

Huffines.Don

Don Huffines

Incoming Texas state Sen. Don Huffines isn’t happy with Northwest Bible Church kicking out the Boy Scout troop he led until October. But he’s not at all happy with the policy adopted last year to allow the inclusion of gay Scouts up to the age of 18.

The church made no public statement but indicated the new policy allowing gay Scouts goes against their principles. The church is located on Douglas Avenue at Northwest Highway.

Huffines resigned from his leadership position with the troop in October 2013 to challenge state Sen. John Carona in the March primary. Huffines won the primary and has no challenger in November. His district includes parts of Oak Lawn.

According to Preston Hollow People, Huffines said, “I think it was a big mistake what BSA did. They said they were not going to change the policy, and then eight months later they came back and changed it. The national leadership of the BSA cannot be trusted. They can’t be trusted not to open the door for more infiltration from the gay agenda. Eventually we’ll have gay scouts and gay scoutmasters and gay troops. They’ll keep coming until their mission is fulfilled.”

Robert Gates, former defense secretary under presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, is the newly appointed president of the Boy Scouts and the national leadership that Huffines can’t trust.

The troop is part of Circle Ten Council, which includes Dallas and 11 other North Texas counties. Circle Ten CEO Pat Currie said his council has 54,000 Scouts and is not aware of any who have declared their homosexuality.

“It’s not about if you’re gay or straight. It’s about who you are as a person,” Currie said. “I haven’t found a church yet who said they would remove someone from the church just because they said they were gay.”

Despite Currie’s assurances that no church would throw out a gay kid, the odds are next to zero that out of 54,000 Scouts, not one has come out. Either Currie is oblivious or his organization remains a completely unsafe place for gay kids to be honest about who they are.

—  David Taffet

Disney ends funding to Boy Scouts over gay policy

Unknown-1LOS ANGELES  — The Walt Disney Company will cut funding to the Boy Scouts of America beginning in 2015 because of a policy that bans gay adult leaders in the organization, The Associated Press reported.

The Boy Scouts organization is “disappointed” by the decision, which will affect the organization’s ability to serve children, Deron Smith, a Boy Scouts spokesman, said in a statement Sunday. Disney does not provide direct funding to the Boy Scouts, but it donates money to some troops in exchange for volunteer hours completed by Disney employees, he said.

“We believe every child deserves the opportunity to be a part of the Scouting experience and we are disappointed in this decision because it will impact our ability to serve kids,” he said.

David Jefferson, chief spokesman for The Walt Disney Company, did not respond to calls or emails.

Disney’s decision came to light after the president of a local Boy Scout council based in Orlando, Fla., where Disney World is based, sent a memo alerting local troops to the decision.

The memo was posted on the website of Scouts for Equality, an organization that is critical of the Boy Scouts’ policy to ban adult gay troop leaders.

The Boy Scouts lifted a ban on gay youth last year.

—  Steve Ramos

Judge rules Kentucky ban on recognizing marriages performed elsewhere unconstitutional

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Greg Bourke, left, with his son at a protest last February at Boy Scout headquarters in Irving (David Taffet/Dallas Voice)

Kentucky’s ban on recognizing marriages performed out of state was struck down Wednesday by a federal judge. He ruled it violates the U.S. Constitution’s equal protection clause.

“It is clear that Kentucky’s laws treat gay and lesbian persons differently in a way that demeans them,” U.S. District Judge John Heyborn wrote.

The Family Foundation of Kentucky argued recognizing same-sex marriage would undermine procreation as the fundamental role of marriage. Heyburn wrote that opposite-sex couples are not required to procreate to get married.

He also wrote no evidence was presented that “recognizing same-sex marriage will harm opposite-sex marriage.”

The suit was brought by Greg Bourke and Michael Deleon of Louisville and three other couples. Bourke was a Boy Scout troup leader for his and Deleon’s son. He spoke at a protest rally at Boy Scout headquarters in Irving last February before the ban on gay Scouts was lifted. The ban on gay Scout leaders remains in place.

Bourke and Deleon were married in Canada in 2004.

—  David Taffet

Lockheed Martin cuts ties to Boy Scouts over gay leader ban

lockheed_martin_logo_miLockheed Martin announced Thursday that it would end donations to the Boy Scouts of America over the organization’s ban on gay adult leaders.

The decision came after a review of the company’s philanthropy guidelines to evaluate its 2014 priorities, The Associated Press reports.

While the BSA’s National Council voted in May to lift the ban on gay Scouts, the organization continued to prevent gay leaders from serving among its ranks.

Lockheed Martin spokesman Johndroe said Lockheed Martin was glad for the change, but opposes the continued ban on gay leaders.

Lockheed follows UPS Inc., Merck & Co. and Intel in cutting ties to the Boy Scouts over its no-gays policy in recent years.

Johndroe said the company decided to end relationships with nonprofits that don’t share its corporate policies or commitment to diversity.

“We believe engaging with and funding an organization that openly discriminates is in conflict with our policies,” he said in a statement. “While we applaud the mission of the Boy Scouts and the good things they do in our communities, their policies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religious affiliation conflict with Lockheed Martin policies.”

Deron Smith, a spokesman for the Irving-based Boy Scouts, said Lockheed Martin was not a national sponsor but has had a positive impact by supporting Scouting in local communities.

“We respect the company’s right to express its own opinion and appreciate its recognition that Scouting is a valuable organization,” he wrote in an email. “Scouting believes that good people can personally disagree on this topic and still work together to accomplish the common good.”

—  Anna Waugh

Marco Rubio raising money for group that tries to turn gay people straight

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Sen. Marc Rubio, R-Fla.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a possible presidential candidate in 2016, will deliver the keynote address at the annual fundraiser for the Florida Family Policy Council, a prominent social conservative organization that promotes discredited “conversion therapy” to help LGBT individuals become straight, Salon reported.

The Nov. 16 fundraising dinner honors Mat Staver, an ardent anti-gay activist who is suing New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie for signing a law banning gay-to-straight conversion therapy and has said that teaching gay rights in school is tantamount to “sexual assault.”

John Stemberger, the Florida Family Policy Council’s president, also is an anti-gay activist. He is chairman of Trail Life, the “moral alternative” to the Boy Scouts of America, which recently lifted its ban on gay Scouts. Trail Life won’t accept openly gay boys as members, but offers counseling services to youth who suffer from “gender confusion.”

“We’re not going to tolerate somebody who’s, you know, here and queer, loud and proud, all of that nonsense,” Stemberger told social-conservative radio host Janet Mefferd.

Staver also has a history of making incendiary claims about gays. In June, he claimed the passage of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act, which prohibits employers form discriminating against LGBT employees and applicants, would “result in significant damage and even death of some of the individuals.”

After the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in June, Staver suggested the decision would bring the nation closer to “the realm of rebellion.”

—  Steve Ramos

New BSA president is former Secretary of Defense who helped end DADT

Robert.Gates

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates will be the new president of the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board, the BSA announced Wednesday.

Gates, an Eagle Scout, will serve as an executive vice president and national president-elect upon the approval of the National Council in May. After the council’s approval, he would serve a two-year term as the BSA national president and lead the National Executive Board, which guides the BSA as it serves approximately 2.6 million youth members.

“There is no finer program for preparing American boys for citizenship and leadership than the Boy Scouts of America,” Gates said in a statement. “As an Eagle Scout, I know firsthand how impactful this program can be, and I believe its mission is more important today than ever before. I am honored to take on this role and look forward to working on behalf of the millions of youth and adult members who make Scouting what it is today — an organization providing life-changing opportunities to today’s youth.”

As Secretary of Defense, Gates helped oversee the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that banned openly gay military members. The choice is an interesting one for the Irving-based organization, which has a storied past of discriminating against openly gay Scouts and volunteers. In May, the national council voted to allow openly gay Scouts, but not adult leaders.

Gates has a long history with the BSA, having served as a past member of the National Executive Board, past president of the National Eagle Scout Association and being awarded the Silver Buffalo Award, the highest commendation given by the BSA for extraordinary service to youth, and a Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, the highest mark of distinction and recognition for those with exceptional service and unselfish interests.

—  Anna Waugh

Keller church drops Boy Scout affiliation

KellerA Catholic church in Keller will stop sponsoring a Boy Scout troop in 2014 when a policy allowing gay Scouts goes into effect — mostly because, he admits, many Catholic priests are pedophiles.

Monsignor James Hart, the pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, cited his experience working with the Fort Worth Diocese and the lawsuits against pedophile priests as his reasoning — what he called a “very sad involvement in the various lawsuits filed against the Diocese for violations against the moral law in times past.”

He said these incidents “destroyed lives and caused many to lose their faith.” He blamed the crimes on priests “with a same-sex orientation.”

And he pointed out that those men had “taken an oath of celibacy in the service of a higher good.”

Because these priests had sex with young boys, the pastor concludes, obviously gay teens will have sex with each other.

“Given the facts of this known past, which as a Priest has broken my heart, do you honestly expect me to believe that when the time comes in the life of the Boy Scouts of America that there are 12, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 year old boys put together in overnight situations, some of whom with a self-professed same-sex orientation and attraction, that nothing undesirable is going to happen?” he said.

—  David Taffet

Dallas United Way chapter gives Boy Scouts Circle Ten Council $350K

United-Way-logo1The United Way of Metropolitan Dallas has once again allotted grant money to the Dallas-based Circle Ten Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Circle Ten received $200,000 for its life skills Learning for Life program and another $150,00 for its Trevor-Rees Jones ScoutReach program, which helps underprivileged youth be able to participate in Scouting. The council received $315,846 from United Way last year.

LGBT advocates have tried to discourage United Way chapters from donating to BSA councils that don’t have LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination polices, including a Change.org petition targeting United Way Worldwide to cut funding to the BSA.

While Circle Ten doesn’t have a nondiscrimination policy, United Way officials have said the organization requires its grantees to follow all federal laws but it doesn’t require them to adopt its own internal polices.

But the council’s leadership wouldn’t take a stance on the resolution that passed May 23 to allow gay youth into the BSA, saying only that the council would follow the policy if it changed.

The Human Rights Campaign is continuing to discourage companies and organizations from donating to the BSA because it still bans gay adult leaders.

In the meantime, hopefully some of that grant money will help gay Scouts in the future.

—  Anna Waugh