Boy Scouts of America clearly won’t earn badges for tolerance after upholding gay member ban

Jordana Divon
Contributing Writer
Daily Brew

At the Boy Scouts of America, males from age 10 to 18 can join one of the largest youth organizations in the country to learn how to brave the great outdoors, or as the Scouts' motto reads: "patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred values."

What they will also be learning as members of the century-old organization is that gay members are not welcome.

The National Post reports that the BSA has definitively decided to deny gay people entry into the club after a controversial two-year review.

Amid fierce debates and protests from gay-rights activists, the organization pointed to support from parents as the driving factor in upholding their decision.

"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers, and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," said Bob Mazzuca, chief scout executive of Boy Scouts of America said in a statement.

It's worth noting that Canadian Scouts maintain no such ban. In fact, according to the Scouts Canada By-Laws, Policies and Procedures:

"Scouts Canada is committed to social justice including the promotion of gender and member diversity at all levels of the organization, both in its structures and programs and to the elimination of discrimination on the groups of race, gender, ethnicity, financial ability, sexual orientation, religion, disability or age."

While the American scouts appear unwilling to revisit their decision, the ban hasn't stopped critics from speaking out.

BSA Board members Jim Turley and Randall Stephenson, both high-powered CEOs, expressed their displeasure over the decision, with Stephenson stressing that he supports the idea of "change from within."

Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, was more direct in saying he found the policy a "missed opportunity of colossal proportions" to teach American youth about tolerance and inclusion.

So while they may not be earning any merit badges in gay rights, America's Scouts are certainly receiving an education on the intricacies of complex moral debate.