Otetiana Council, 474 East Ave., Rochester, New York
Otetiana Council Boy Scouts of America attempts to mislead the public, BSA members and funders with so called new
policy. The Otetiana Council's "new policy" regarding membership standards is nothing new. The BSA has
always had membership standards about inappropriate behavior i.e. doing drugs with the boys, getting drunk on an
outing, placing the boys safety in jeopardy and so on. If you ask an official of the Otetiana Council if they follow
the BSA National policy of excluding gay youth and adults they will tell you they absolutely do adhere to the BSA
National discriminatory policy. This is the BSA National as well as some Scout Councils attempt to dupe the public
to secure funding and membership. Scouting for All warns not to be fooled. Don't fund the BSA until they rescind
their policy of discrimination.
Scott Cozza, Pres.
Scouting for All
Some Scout councils are attempting to mislead funders and the American public to secure funding and membership.
be posted with your comments today or tomorrow.
Otetiana Council (Rochester, NY) just announced a new policy that said that they don't discriminate against gays
but instead discriminate against people who exhibit inappropriate sexual behavior. Ostensibly, this sounds great.
But then they say that their
policy is consistent with the BSA's policy against "avowed homosexuals."
Our local newspaper just printed a letter I wrote on this topic. My point was that it's great that they're trying
to be more inclusive, but that I hope they will have the same standards for "inappropriate sexual behavior"
from gay and straight people. Is it inappropriate for a gay scoutmaster to bring his partner to a court of honor
or troop picnic? The policy is very vague on this, which makes me think that they're just trying to appease protesters
without actually changing anything.
Local Scouts avoid ban on gays Otetiana Council focuses on behavior rather than sexuality By Meaghan
M. McDermott Democrat and Chronicle
(Tuesday, June 12, 2001) -- Homosexuals may be able to serve as Boy Scout leaders in the Rochester area
as long as they don't engage in publicly inappropriate behavior, according to a new Otetiana Council,
Inc. membership standards statement. The statement says the council will not inquire about the sexual
orientation of current or prospective members, but "will exclude a scoutmaster or member if his or
her sexuality or behavior becomes publicly appropriate as judged by the Otetiana Council."
The position statement does not specifically defy or oppose the national Boy Scouts of America's stance
against "avowed homosexuals." However, it does shift the membership criteria from sexual
orientation to public behavior -- effectively giving organizations that sponsor troops greater leeway in
"The key to Boy Scout programs is our relationships with these charter organizations," said
Larry Pritchard, executive director of the Otetiana Council. "And our charter organizations get
to pick the leaders they want working with their kids."
Pritchard said the statement -- written by a committee of former council presidents with input from community
groups, and approved by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America -- covers sexual behavior
of both heterosexual and omosexual
However, he was unable to provide specific examples of behaviors that may be deemed publicly inappropriate.
"Issues aren't as simple as good and bad and black and white," Pritchard said.
The Otetiana Council is one of only a handful of councils across the nation that has instructed its charters
that sexual orientation alone does not have to be grounds for immediate dismissal from Scouting programs,
said Scott Pusillo, northeast regional
director of Scouting for All. The California-based group is dedicated to fighting the Boy Scouts of
America's anti-gay and anti-atheist policies.
"Scouting for All makes no attempt to force its beliefs on anybody -- some religious organizations
and other charter organizations will never welcome homosexuals while other charters will," he
The new statement is a good first step, said Rob Gelder, executive director of the Gay Alliance of the
Genesee Valley, but, "It needs further clarification." Kurt Albers of Victor has two
sons in Scouting programs, and he believes this new policy is little
more than a version of "don't ask, don't tell." He fully supports the stringent ban
on homosexuals. "This (position statement) is a step in the wrong direction," he said. "It
weakens the national policy -- the Supreme Court upheld that private organizations can set their own membership
"This is nothing against the people," he said, adding that his position is informed by
his faith. The Lutheran Church of the Transfiguration on Culver Road in Irondequoit has never
taken a position on gays in Scouting, so Mike Leone, congregation president, isn't sure the policy change
would have any effect on his church or its troops.
"We take the position that Scouts is a good organization for young people and the benefits of that
should not be taken away based on a political statement." Pritchard said no Otetiana Council
youth members have been expelled for their sexuality, but in the past, there have been some adult leaders
-- both heterosexual and homosexual -- who have been asked to leave because of their sexual behavior. Pritchard
would not elaborate.
Some councils, such as the Piedmont Council in Piedmont, Calif., have refused to follow the ban and others,
such as the Indianhead Council of St. Paul, Minn., have asked Boy Scouts of America to reconsider the
policy without any repercussions. But Boy Scouts of America declined to renew the charters of seven
Oak Park, Ill., troops whose sponsor groups had anti-discrimination policies that clashed with the national
The Otetiana Council has more than 5,000 adult volunteers in the Monroe County area and serves more than
13,000 youths. "We want to make sure the Scouting community as well as our traditional
advocates are aware of the fact the Otetiana Council is working as hard as it can to make sure our programs
are available to the largest number of youths possible, said Pritchard. "We don't want any youngster
... who could benefit ... to not be able to." The following was included in a sidbar to this
The Hiawatha Seaway Council (Syracuse) will ask its members, or those considering membership, to subscribe
to those behavior standards best illustrated by the Scout Oath and Law. Inappropriate behavior may hinder the
Hiawatha Seaway Council from attaining its long established goals of serving youth through the Scout Oath and Law.
Consequently, the Hiawatha Seaway Council reserves the right to deny membership if an individual's behavior, sexual
or otherwise, is publicly inappropriate.