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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

From Fox News:

Activist groups, including Scouting for All, urge President Obama not to accept the honorary Presidency of the Boy Scouts of America until they stop discriminating.

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Steven Cozza, Eagle Scout
Sonoma County Youth March Speech
October 21, 2000

Hi, everyone. Are you enjoying the Rally? It's a great day. I'm very honored to be here to speak to you today.

I am proud to be representing the Petaluma Gay Straight Alliance and also Scouting For All.

We need to work in our schools across the country that we have a Gay Straight Alliance club in every high school in America.

And as an Eagle Scout I am ashamed of the Boy Scouts of America's bigoted policy against gay youth, adults and atheists. Through the efforts of Scouting For All, members of the Boy Scouts of America and others outside of Scouting we hope to get the Boy Scouts of America to rescind their hurtful policy of discrimination.

I think as a people, we tend to believe something is "normal," "OK," or "healthy" if society accepts it. Some things we take for granted because institutions and laws may say it's ok. We may even believe in something that is discriminatory against us because we were taught it is ok.

Slavery at one time was accepted in this country as "normal," "OK," "healthy." Even some of the slaves accepted slavery as their purpose in life. Because that was what they were taught. Women not having the right to vote, African Americans not having civil rights until the 60s and being segregated, not being able to eat in the same restaurants or drink from the same drinking fountains as whites, and Native Americans weren't allowed to be citizens until 1928 and they were here first!

Even some of those who were discriminated against believed it was ok. It was "normal." Because our laws and institutions said, it was.

Things didn't change until individuals in our society found the courage too began to question these laws and institutions. Things didn't change until people began to come together to stand against these social injustices.

That is what we have to do.

Let us not buy into the messages today that we are no good if we are gay,

that we are no good if we are lesbian,

that we are no good if we are bisexual,

that we are no good if we are transgender.

Lets not buy into the message that if we love someone as a gay or lesbian that we don't have the right to marry,

or have the right to have employee benefits for our partners.

Let's not buy into the message that you as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender youth don't exist, don't count.

The schools here in Sonoma County still allow the Boy Scouts to recruit in their schools and post recruitment flyers. This is an organization that discriminates against gay youth and adults against some of you here today, against some of your parents, brothers, sisters, and friends.

By allowing this to happen those who run our schools are telling you that you don't count, that you don't exist. That they don't care. We must not sit back and accept that. We must demand respect! We must demand that they the school district acknowledge our existence! Would they allow the Boy Scouts to
recruit in our schools if they discriminated against a particular race.

The answer is NO!

Then why should the Sonoma County public schools allow the Boy Scouts to recruit in our schools when they discriminate against you because you are gay?

We must stand together and speak out loud against these laws, against those institutions that discriminate against us, whether we are gay or not. We are all human beings and we should stand together to defend our rights as human beings. When the Boy Scouts of America discriminates against my gay friends, they discriminate against me. They discriminate against all of us as human beings. We must not turn our backs on any human being experiencing social injustice!

The message that I want to leave with all of you here today is that EVERY PERSON here is important, is of value, is special in this life!

As Martin Luther King said:

"We must not allow any force to make us feel like we don't count. Maintain a sense of dignity and respect!"

As young people we owe it to our future and the future of this earth that we stand together for human rights and that we embrace our diversity and cherish our differences.

Lets stand together!

Thank you very much.

Steven Cozza, Eagle Scout

Steven was proud to be given the opportunity to introduce Lynn Woolsey, Congresswoman 6th district California.




Scouting For All is not an alternative scouting program.
We are an education and advocacy organization reaching out to gay and nontheist youth and adults in our effort to get the Boy Scouts of America to rescind its exlusionary policy.

Any communications sent to Scouting for All or any Scouting for All representative may be published on the Scouting for All web site or in Scouting for All materials unless the communication specifically requests that it not be published.

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