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UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST TO VOTE ON BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA'S POLICY EXCLUDING GAYS

by Dave Rice, Consultant for Scouting for All and UCC Member

There are now three resolutions on the Boy Scouts of America's policy of excluding gays to come before the United Church of Christ's General Synod, meeting in Minneapolis July 10-15. The resolutions also deal with the rights and responsibilities of Scout chartered organizations (61% of them churches) and their Scout unit (parent) committees to select their Scout leaders and the youth they will serve in their church's programs.

The first resolution was passed in October 2002 by the UCC's Connecticut Conference and was written by Dave Knapp, longtime Scouter, advocate for gay rights, and member of the Guilford Congregational Church, Guilford, Connecticut.

The second resolution was submitted directly to the UCC General Synod by the UCC Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Concerns, and by the Shadow Rock UCC, Phoenix, Arizona.

The third resolution will be voted on at the UCC Northern California Nevada Conference in Pacific Grove, California May 15-18 and may be forwarded by it to the General Synod. It was written by Dave Rice, longtime Scouter, one of the cofounders of Scouting for All, and a member of the Petaluma UCC, Petaluma, California.

The three resolutions will be heard by a committee during the General Synod, possibly rewritten to include key provisions of all three, and sent to a plenary session of the General Synod for a final vote.

The resolutions call on the BSA to abandon its practice of interfering with churches and their Scout unit (parent) committees in selecting their Scout leaders and youth, if the BSA believes an individual is gay. They point out that many UCC congregations who have become "open and affirming" (accepting of all without regard to sexual orientation) have been forced to choose between standing by their beliefs and losing their Scout unit or abandoning their principles to keep a Scout unit. Two UCC
congregations have had their Scout unit charter applications refused.

The resolutions also call on UCC congregations to keep their Scouting programs active, while assuring that they are also open and affirming.



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