Anti-gay scouting policy not likely to change soon despite accepting petition

Boy Scout headquarters in Irving

Despite news from some sources that the Irving-based Boy Scouts of America is planning to change its anti-gay policies, the organization says it has no plans to do so.

A CBS story implies that the Boy Scouts are planning to review their policy.

But Boy Scouts CEO Robert Mazzuca said, “We have no plans at the moment to make any changes.”

After Jennifer Tyrrell, leader of her son’s cub scout troop, was kicked out of the organization, a petition urging her reinstatement was started on change.org. This week, the Boy Scouts agreed to meet privately with authors of the petition as a courtesy.

In the 2000 Boy Scouts of America vs. Dale case, the Supreme Court found that the Boy Scouts are a private organization and private groups may choose who can be members.

And Boy Scouts spokesman Deron Smith said no change of policy could take place before the Boy Scouts executive committee’s next national meeting in 2013.

A Scout leader from the Northeast submitted a resolution in April that would allow individual troops to allow gays as scout leaders. That resolution has also gone nowhere.

Jon Langbert, a former local cub scout leader, said he signed the petition. Langbert is a gay dad whose son was a cub scout. He didn’t lead his son’s pack but was named “popcorn colonel” for leading its fundraising effort.

“Things are slowly changing,” he said.

He said he thought it was difficult for an organization like this to suddenly say that what it said before was immoral now isn’t. He said things are changing and cited the military.

“They don’t want to be the last organization in America on the wrong side on this,” he said.

Since the article was written in 2010, he said his son spent one more year in the scouts.

“He moved on,” he said and has since switched schools.

Langbert called discrimination against gays and against atheists antithetical to the values of scouting.

“I’d love to see the policy change,” he said.

—  David Taffet