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.
Scouting for All is a 100% Volunteer 501-(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization. Every dollar donated goes toward our education and advocacy programs, and is tax deductible.
Hi, my name is Linda. I am married and the mother of five wonderful children. I always knew I wanted my kids
to be in scouting, so it was with great pleasure that I took my oldest child and only daughter to the Girl Scout
store to get her first girl scout uniform. What followed were many years of
camping, learning, community service and just plain fun. I liked that the Girl Scouts taught about diversity,
tolerance and love. It was a good group for her to be involved in.
About the time that our oldest boy was ready to be in cub scouts, my husband's brother John, told us that he was
HIV positive. We were devastated. From that moment on, AIDS stopped being about other people who had a disease
and started being about someone we dearly loved who was dying.
At a loss for what to do next, we decided to educate ourselves as much as possible about AIDS and about homosexuality.*
We read everything we could get our hands on, but we learned the most by just being around John and his friends.
My husband and I did not consider ourselves to be homophobic, but being with John made us realize that we did
have misconceptions about what
being gay meant. It also opened our eyes to the horribly demoralizing effect that homophobia has on individual
gay people. Imagine going through life knowing that people all around you think of you as lower than human or
unfit to live just because of who you are. Imagine what that would do to your
self-esteem. It is no wonder that gay youth have the highest suicide rate of all kids. Being a mother of five,
this saddened me greatly. What if one of my kids discovered they were gay when they became teens or young adults?
I was filled with dread at the thought that one of my babies could face such a future just because of who they
Two years later, John was gone. We miss him still. By this time, three of our four boys were involved in Scouting.
We decided to let them stay in even though we were opposed to the BSA's policy against gays. We rationalized
that they were so young that it didn't matter yet. But when it was time for our oldest son to move up into a Boy
Scout troop, we knew we had talk. So we
sat down, the three of us, and talked about John and about being gay and how the Boy Scouts were against gay people
being scouts. Even though my son is straight, he made the decision to drop out of Scouting. He couldn't understand
how the Boy Scouts could discriminate against anybody. He did not want to be part of a group that would not have
included his beloved uncle.
I wish we had known about Scouting for All at that point. If we had, we would have been able to stay in scouting,
while doing something about their discriminatory policy. As it was, our oldest son missed out on many great adventures.
About two years later, I happened upon Scouting for All's web page. I sent an e-mail expressing my support for
their cause and I wrote a little bit about my family's situation. I got an immediate response back from Scott
Cozza and soon we were talking on the phone. Scott and his family invited our family to Steven's Eagle Scout Court
of Honor. I took my three sons, the oldest, who had dropped out of scouting because of their discrimination policy
and my next two who were now in Boy Scouts thanks to finding Scouting for All.
It was an incredible experience. Steven and Scott and Dave Rice and many others gave incredible testimonies about
the Scouting Life. We listened to their impassioned pleas to include all people into the scouting family. We
heard from Steven's gay pastor who had been a role model for Steven all his
life. We heard stories from people who had been hurt by the Boy Scouts policy of exclusion. My family walked
away from that day, more determined than ever to make a difference in this world. They had been raised with a
gay uncle. It was beyond their comprehension why gay people could not be included in the Scouts. When Scott asked
me to be on the Board of Directors, I said yes!
So that is where we are today. I am the first woman and the first Hispanic to be on the Board. I am active in
my church and am working on going into the Seminary to get my Masters of Divinity degree. My goal is to promote
justice for all. No one on the planet should be made to feel bad about themselves because of who they are. As
a mother, I feel that the world's children are my children and I can't bear to see any of them hurting just because
they happen to be Gay.
I was born in the 60's and I always wondered if I would have made a stand for Civil Rights if I had been an adult
at that time. I consider the Gay Rights Movement to be the Civil Rights movement of our time. I am making a stand.
Won't you stand with me?
*AIDS is not a disease that only hits the Gay Community.