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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.

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What You Can Do
Scouting For All's National Campaign

Scouting for All's historic “National Day of Protest” on August 21, 2000, marked the beginning of a new era in our national campaign to end the discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America against gay and atheist* youth and adults. When he was a 12-year-old Life Scout, Steven Cozza, who is now an Eagle Scout, wrote a letter to the editor of his local newspaper in which he stated that the BSA does not practice its own Scout Law when they discriminate against gay youth and adults. On January 22, 1998, Steven called a press conference and launched his national campaign in the form of a petition drive to place pressure on the BSA to rescind its discriminatory policy of exclusion.

This courageous action by Steven has been the inspiration for the current Scouting for All movement. Steven has dedicated his efforts to the memory of Robin Reed a gay, 15-year-old Petaluma High School student who killed himself because he felt rejected, and to the memory of all gay youth who have taken their own lives because they felt like they didn't belong. We will no longer tolerate our gay youth having to remain “invisible” out of fear. We will continue to work toward the creation of a society in which our gay youth feel safe and in which they live their lives as the blessed individuals they are meant to be.

Steven and others who stand with him against the social injustices of a program he loved, namely the Boy Scouts of America, have allowed themselves to feel the pain of the Robin Reeds in this life, and decided to take a stand. The real tragedy to date is that the national leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have not allowed themselves, as an organization, to feel the real pain which they are causing our gay youth, their families and friends, and to all individuals who believe in justice. The BSA's immoral, discriminatory, and exclusionary policy should offend all people who truly value social justice and human rights. Their discriminatory policy of exclusion is extremely harmful to the Scouting movement in the United States and internationally, and to both gay and straight youth alike, as well as being fundamentally contrary to the precepts and principles upon which the worldwide Scouting movement was originally founded.

We are dedicating Scouting for All's “National Day of Protest” as a new beginning in our continued effort to get the BSA to end their discrimination. The light of hope will shine brighter than ever in the name of human rights. We are launching a heightened national and international campaign, calling upon individuals and groups to take positive action on the side of social justice and human rights. Therefore, Scouting for All has renamed our “National Day of Protest” to be our “Annual National Rally and Recognition of Gay (GLBT) Youth and Gay and Atheist Scout Month.” It is held each year the month of October.

*Includes Nontheists and other Free thinkers

1. Individuals who believe in justice for all It is everyone's responsibility to speak out against social injustice: in this case, the social injustice of the Boy Scouts of America. We must not turn our backs on those who are being discriminated against. We encourage parents and guardians to have their children participate only in those youth organizations which value the diversity of the human family, which have inclusive policies, and which abide by those policies. In fact, the BSA is the only youth organization in America that discriminates against gay and atheist youth and adults.

We suggest you send a letter to your local BSA council
and to the BSA's national headquarters in Irving, Texas
to inform them that you will not allow your child to
join the BSA until it rescinds its discriminatory policy
of exclusion. Alternative, nondiscriminatory youth
programs include the following: Boys and Girls
Club, 4-H, Campfire USA, and Girl Scouts USA.

2. BSA members, scout units, sponsors, councils Through the Scout Oath and Scout Law, the Boy Scout Handbook, and the various merit badge booklets on citizenship, we can see that scouting teaches its members to help make the world a better place. Discrimination and bigotry have never been a part of Scouting. Those in Scouting have an ethical and moral obligation to stand against the discrimination and bigotry of its current national leaders.

If you are an individual BSA member (adult leader,
scout), a BSA scout unit, or a scout sponsor (i.e., charting
organization, e.g., religious groups, service clubs, etc.),
insist that your BSA scout unit adopt an anti-discrimination
statement and send it to the BSA's national headquarters
in Irving, Texas, and also to your local BSA council.

3. Financial Contributors, e.g., United Way & Businesses We call upon all businesses and organizations, such as some United Ways who fund BSA councils and programs such as the BSA Learning for Life, to follow their own businesses' and organizations' anti-discrimination policies. Donate or contribute funds only to those youth organizations that do not practice discrimination. Inform the Boy Scouts of America that it must end its discriminatory policies which exclude gay and atheist youth and adults, or else be terminated as a beneficiary of your business' or organization's funding.

4. Schools & government agencies This includes the military; municipalities; schools; police and fire departments; PTA's; and city, county, state, or federal government agencies; etc. We ask that these organizations reexamine their relationship with the Boy Scouts of America in light of their own anti-discrimination policies, and insist that discrimination be prohibited by any group that uses their services or facilities. We ask all local school districts to think about the harmful message that they are sending to both their gay and straight students if you allow organizations, such as the BSA, which discriminate against gay and atheist youth, to use their school facilities and allow adult BSA leaders to recruit in their schools. Just think about the harmful message that you would be giving to both gay and straight students in your schools if you allow this discrimination to be practiced in your district.

For helpful aids on working with schools in helping
your local school district or school to deal with the
BSA's discriminatory policy of excluding gay and atheist
students, please check out GLSEN, the Gay Lesbian Straight
Education Network, at their web site: or You can also contact
Scouting for All at for assistance.
Scouting for All asks all local school districts throughout
the United States to support GSA (Gay Straight Alliance)
clubs by granting permission for their students to
establish such clubs in their districts' high schools.

Gay Youth often experience deep feelings of rejection and loneliness. GSAs offer gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgendered/ questioning youth the support that they need, and straight youth a way to develop their own understanding and acceptance of their GLBTQ friends. Scouting for All has dedicated its efforts to the memory of Robin Reed and to all gay youth who have taken their lives because they felt rejected, like they didn't belong. In the year 2000, Eagle Scout Steven Cozza, along with his sister Anne, established a GSA at Petaluma High School, where they were students at the time. This is the same high school Robin Reed had attended. If Petaluma High School had a GSA in 1995, the year in which Robin Reed took his own life, Robin might still be alive today. GSAs are saving lives! Lets embrace all of our youth by establishing GSAs in every high school in America. The power for healing change is in our hands; together let's make it happen!

For information on how to start a GSA at your local high school, go to

5. Religious congregations and organizations Scouting for All advises, as a minimum, that all chartering (i.e., sponsoring) organizations within your faith communities adopt nondiscrimination policies. Also insist that any group or BSA scout unit that uses your facilities, sign a similar nondiscrimination statement. Your heritage of strong faith and belief that all human beings have inherent worth asks this of you: that you be lights of hope, beacons of courage and love, and defenders of the disenfranchised.

Scouting for All has initiated the following strategies to implement this new era of our National Campaign to End Discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America

1. We will continue to use the
web site to rally support, educate, advocate, and to help mobilize our volunteers and members across the country and internationally. We will also continue using “Steven's Petition” to help educate and rally support.

2. Scouting for All's Alliance for Human Rights
The “Alliance” consists of individual grassroots organizers, community based organizations and national organizations which are committed to getting the Boy Scouts of America to end its discriminatory policy of exclusion that is harmful to both gay and straight youth. The Alliance's members are joined by a common bond and spirit that social justice and human rights should be for all to experience. The Alliance was established to create a network for mobilizing and supporting efforts across the country and internationally. The Alliance is a bright light of hope for both gay and straight youth, that they may someday live in a society that values social justice, acceptance, and cherishes the diversity of the human family.

For further details on the Alliance click on “Join the Alliance" on the menu to the left.

3. Scouting for All's regional and state directors
They will continue to help mobilize and network to support the implementation of our national campaign throughout the United States. We have divided the country into the following five regions: Midwestern, Northeastern, Northwestern, Southern, and Southwestern, with each region having a regional director. The national headquarters of Scouting for All is responsible for generating international advocacy and support as well as coordinating and supporting our regional and state directors.

We ask that you contact the regional director
for your region by going to the Scouting for
All web site's home page to the Contact Us
menu and click your region on the map.

Approved by the Scouting for All Board of Directors on 8/26/00, amended 3/30/01, updated 7/04/04


Scouting For All is not an alternative scouting program.
We are an education and advocacy organization reaching out to gay and nontheist youth and adults in our effort to get the Boy Scouts of America to rescind its exlusionary policy.

Any communications sent to Scouting for All or any Scouting for All representative may be published on the Scouting for All web site or in Scouting for All materials unless the communication specifically requests that it not be published.

Copyright 1999-2009 Scouting for All and its content providors.