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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

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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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Expelled Scout pushes reform. Scott Pusillo to be honored by Empire State Pride Agenda


By Meaghan M. McDermott
Democrat and Chronicle

(Monday, April 23, 2001) -- For 15 of his 21 years, Scott Pusillo was a proud Boy Scout. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout, was elected to the prestigious Order of the Arrow, and he was an assistant Scoutmaster with the Monmouth Council in New Jersey.

In April 2000 -- even before the Supreme Court ruled that the First Amendment gives the Boy Scouts of America the power to reject gay members -- the Monmouth Council in Oakhurst, N.J., informed Pusillo, then 20 years old, that he would be expelled from Scouting.

"They issued a letter to me saying I was no longer welcome due to my sexuality," said Pusillo.

Pusillo, now the Northeast Region Director of Scouting For All, a national organization dedicated to changing the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policies, will be the guest of honor Saturday at the Empire State Pride Agenda's Annual Spring Dinner at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.

Pusillo lauded recent local efforts, such as a Pittsford mother's drive to have her son's Cub Scout troop sign a non-discrimination resolution and the Otetiana Council's ongoing discussions about drawing up a local anti-discrimination policy. He said the best way to fight the Boy Scout policy is from within. "The Scout law says that you should be brave, and the only way to effect change is to stand up in the face of adversity," he said.

Saturday's dinner is the Pride Agenda's largest fund-raiser in western New York, said Frank Stasio, the organization's director of development. "Last year it raised more than $40,000 and was attended by more than 250 people," he said.

The dinner will feature master of ceremonies Elvira Kurt and a keynote address from Arizona State Rep. Steve May -- an openly gay member of the Army reserve.

May was found guilty of violating the Army's "don't ask, don't tell" policy in September 2000, and his discharge was pending in January when the Army announced it was dropping the case. May plans on serving in the Army reserve through the end of his term next month.

The Empire State Pride Agenda is the state's largest lesbian and gay political advocacy organization.

For more information, visit: www.scoutingforall.org.

What: Empire State Pride Agenda's Annual Spring Dinner, with comedian Elvira Kurt and Arizona state Rep. Steve May. Where: Riverside Convention Center, 123 E. Main St. When: Saturday, 6:30 p.m. hors d'oeuvres, open bar and silent
auction; 8 p.m. dinner.
Cost: $125 per person.
Call: 271-2420 for tickets (sponsorships also available). Or order online: www.prideagenda.org

 

 

 

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