Boy Scouts voting today on gay scout leader ban

Wahls.Zach

Zach Wahls

The Boy Scouts of America will vote today on a policy to repeal its current ban on having openly gay scout leader. Results will be released tonight.

The new policy was approved unanimously earlier this year by its executive committee, headed by former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who implemented the end of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  The new policy would allow local units to select their own leaders, so church-sponsored groups could continue to discriminate against gays and lesbians in leadership roles. A year ago, a similar policy change allowed gay scouts to remain active until their 18th birthdays.

Zach Wahls, a straight Eagle Scout with two moms who founded Scouts for Equality, said it would be unprecedented for a recommendation by the national executive committee to be turned down.

Still, he called this vote only a partial victory if it passes tonight.

“Any discrimination sends a harmful message to kids,” he said.

—  David Taffet

Equal Scouting Summit to take place next week when BSA discusses gay ban

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Scouts for Equality and the Inclusive Scouting Network are holding a national Equal Scouting Summit next week while the Boy Scouts’ National Council debates whether or not to allow gay youth.

The event will bring together national leaders and discuss how to make the BSA more inclusive moving forward. Jennifer Tyrrell, Zach Wahls, Greg Bourke, Will Oliver and Eagle Scout Dave McGrath, who is biking 1,800 miles with his son for equality, are among the speakers.

The Voice of the Gay Scout project will also be a part of the summit. Gay Scouts are encouraged to send letters about what they would say to members of the BSA’s National Council. Scouts and allies will bring the letters to the National Council and read them aloud. Letters can be sent to voice@inclusivescouting.net.

The summit is May 22-24 at the Great Wolf Lodge, 100 Great Wolf Drive in Grapevine.

For more information or to RSVP, go here.

—  Dallasvoice

Merck suspends Boy Scout funding

Merck became the third major company in three months to suspend funding of the Boy Scouts because of its discrimination policies.

The first two companies — UPS and Intel — suspended giving to the Boy Scouts after Scouts for Equality questioned why those companies donated to an organization whose policies are in conflict with nondiscrimination giving guidelines. Merck stopped its donations apparently after an internal “re-evaluation” that was part of a “broader review of funding decisions in 2013.”

“The BSA’s policy of exclusion based on sexual orientation directly conflicts with the Merck Foundation’s giving guidelines,” the giving arm of the drug maker announced on its website.

The foundation re-evaluated funding after the Boy Scouts of America restated its policy to continue excluding based on sexual orientation last summer. That announcement came during the visit to Dallas of Cub Scout mom Jen Tyrrell who had been removed from her position because she is lesbian. During Tyrrell’s visit, the Boy Scouts claimed to have been studying a change to their policy for two years but would not release the study or the names of the 11 people the the group claimed were on the committee that reviewed it.

Tyrrell was in Dallas at the time to deliver a Change.org petition to reinstate her that had gathered 300,000 signatures. The petition is still open for additional signatures.

—  David Taffet