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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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Santa Barbara, California, City Council Agrees to Sever Ties with the Boy Scouts of America Until the BSA Rescinds its Anti-Gay Policy


Copy of GLBA Testimony to Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors
February 6, 2001

RE: UNLAWFUL DISCRIMINATION IN COUNTY CONTRACTS
To Members of the County Board of Supervisors:

It is truly dismaying to see a once venerable organization fall prey to a band of religious bigots acting on the sly to gain control for their own purposes. Such is the case with the Boy Scouts. There has been a stealth take over of the BSA in Texas and it is tragic.

As a former scout myself, I am appalled that some would pervert the honorable work and mission of the Boy Scouts to achieve their own narrow religious purposes.

I am, however, heartened to see the upwelling of support from people of good will especially from within Scouting itself to reject the abject discrimination against our gay youth and gay fathers.

The proposal you have before you today is a good first step to make sure that public resources never inadvertently support private groups or organizations that discriminate against members of the public.

This issue is of vital concern to members of the Gay and Lesbian Business Association (GLBA). GLBA represents the interests of Gay-owned and Gay-friendly businessowners, professionals, workers – and families -- from throughout greater Santa Barbara. We keenly understand the corrosive effects of discrimination. As you may know, GLBA has a foundation, the GLBA Student Scholarship Fund that grants scholarships to gay and lesbian students throughout Santa Barbara County. These students often face the very rejection and discrimination we seek to address today. We want our youth to know we are proud of them and they are a welcome part of public life.

On October 17th, you were witness to this discrimination firsthand. A respected member of this community participating in your hearing was fired for no other reason than for being gay. What is your reaction? Where is your outrage? I urge you to make an explicit statement of opposition to the Boy Scouts policy.

Some of you may recall the Elks Lodge issue, which was quite similar. The Elks had a membership policy which was not racist on its face, but which had the effect of barring African American membership. Despite the considerable good the Elks do, people of good-will throughout Santa Barbara County urged all public signs of support be severed until their policy was changed. This movement began in Lompoc and spread across the country resulting in the national Elks dropping their offending membership process.

What is different in the case of the Scouts is a membership and employment policy which on its face is intended to be discriminatory. Let’s, as a community of conscience, provide the same leadership as we did with the Elks Lodges.

This policy recommendation is a critical step the County can take to make sure members of the public are never barred from public facilities or resources by any group that would single anyone out for discrimination.

On behalf of the Board of Directors of the Gay and Lesbian Business Association I urge you to make a clear and unequivocal statement that discrimination is unacceptable. I further urge you to do what numerous government agencies and non-profits across the country have begun to do in the face of the Boy Scouts’ defiant vow to continue to discriminate. Launch a review of all county contracts with the Boy Scouts -- including the Explorer Scouts, which are wholly owned and controlled by the Boy Scouts with the same leadership and policies -- sever all ties until they change their policies.

TERRY C. LEFTGOFF
President

ACTION: The Board of Supervisors unanymously voted (5-0) to adopt the ordinance.

UPCOMING HEARINGS:

A. 2nd Reading and hearing for above ordinance is Tuesday 13th in Santa Maria.

B. The Boy Scout/Girl Scout lease for Manning Park in Montecito is tentatively scheduled for hearing on Tuesday, February 27th. The Park District is expected to recommend terminating the lease.

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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.

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