Union Congregational Church affiliated with the United Church of Christ, Taunton, Massachusetts
rejects the BSA's Policy of Discrimination
Boston Herald, November 24, 2000
Taunton church drops Scout program over ban on gays
by Dave Wedge
A Taunton church is severing its ties to the Boy Scouts of America in protest of the organization's ban on
"We have a policy of being affirming and open to all, bar none, including gays, lesbians and the transgendered,''
said Beverly Duncan, pastor of Taunton's Union Congregational Church. "We regret having to make this decision,
but we have to follow what we believe.''
The church, which is affiliated with the United Church of Christ, will end its two-year relationship with
the Scouts in January in light of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing the Scouts to discriminate against
In June, the nation's highest court ruled that the Scouts are a private association with the right to set
their own standards for membership and leadership. Duncan said the decision to end the partnership with the Scouts
was "reluctantly'' made after several distraught parishioners expressed concern over the court ruling.
"Members of the congregation -- both gay and straight -- came to me and said, 'This doesn't feel good,'''
Duncan said. "It was with great difficulty and soul-searching that we came to this decision.''
The church subsidizes the Scouts and provides them meeting space. Duncan said there were never any problems
with the local troop but the national organization's stance was in stark contrast to the church's beliefs.
"We have a big, red and white banner out front that says, 'All Are Welcome,'" she said. "Jesus
never said anything about homosexuality. We're taking this stance because of how we believe in Christianity.''
Duncan said the unfortunate victims are the children and the local members who enjoyed working with the church.
"It's lousy,'' she said, "because the boys are the ones who suffer. This is not a good policy.''
Representatives from the Scouts' Taunton-based Annawon Council couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.
A press release on the Boy Scouts of America Web site says the organization is "very pleased'' by the
Supreme Court decision.
"We believe an avowed homosexual is not a role model for the values espoused in the Scout Oath and
Law,'' the release says. "We respect other people's right to hold differing opinions and ask that they respect
ours.'' The Taunton case is just the latest backlash from the landmark court decision.
In Framingham, school officials are considering prohibiting Boy Scouts from meeting on school property because
of the homosexual ban.