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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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Baden Powell Council, New York
The Pool Geller Case

In the wake of the Boy Scouts' action against Mr. Geller, the Baden-Powell council took the extraordinary step of passing a unanimous resolution opposing the BSA's national policy of excluding homosexuals. Exs. C1204, C1210, C1214A, Tr. 483-5 (D. Geller).


BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA Baden-Powell Council, Inc.



Whereas the membership policy of the National Council,

BSA excluding homosexuals from membership in the Boy Scouts of America is endangering Scouting in both the Baden-Powell Council and across the nation, therefore we urge the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America to revise its policy to give responsibility for choice of membership to local Chartered Partners.


Baden-Powell Council, Inc. To: National Resolutions Committee, BSA

From: Charles Love, Council Commissioner, Baden-Powell Council

Date: May 13, 1993

Fax: 214-580-7878, attention Ms. Helen Ray

At the request of Council President Robert Gwinn, I am sending you a copy of a resolution passed unanimously by our Council Executive Board on April 29, 1992, for consideration at the Annual Business Meeting of May 21, 1993.

We are sending this to you again for you reconsideration, since our situation with our local United Ways grows more and more difficult. We urge you to give this matter serious thought, particularly since all we urge upon the National BSA is to allow their local Chartered Partners to make their own decisions about their leadership, a tradition of the BSA since its beginnings. Our current President, the immediate past Council President (myself) and the person who is likely to be our new Council President all share the view represented in this resolution, and share a sense of urgency about the need for a change in National BSA policy.

The memorandum from Mr. Clendenin asks for a brief description of the resolution's purpose. I think the text of the resolution itself, together with a copy of the letter we sent last year (enclosed) should suffice.

Thank you for your consideration. Our delegates look forward to further discussion at the National Meeting.

Letter to
National Board, BSA

I am writing you on behalf of the Executive Board of the Baden-Powell Council, Inc, to urge you to reconsider and reverse the policy of the National Council, BSA, prohibiting homosexuals from being members of the Boy Scouts of America. While it is our intention to conform to the membership
standards policy, we urge serious discussion of this issue at the upcoming national meeting in Cincinnati.

At it's meeting of April 29, 1992 the Executive Board of the Baden-Powell Council passed the following resolution:

Whereas the membership policy of the National Council,

BSA excluding homosexuals from membership in the Boy Scouts of America is endangering Scouting in both the Baden-Powell Council and across the nation, therefore we urge the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America to revise its policy to give responsibility for choice of membership to local Chartered Partners.

Many of our Board members are morally troubled by the BSA position. In an Executive Committee meeting on this subject, one member pointed out that the Scout Law should apply to all people, and another said that Scouting itself has taught many of us tolerance. Others are troubled by the thought of homosexual leaders.

However, we are all in agreement on the consequences the BSA position is bringing to our movement, both in our Council and nation-wide. To quote another Board member, one who is personally uncomfortable with homosexuals as members, we are just on the wrong side of history on this issue.

First, one of the three counties that make up our rural upstate New York Council has an anti-discrimination ordinance which explicitly applies to sexual preference. That ordinance reflects a widely held community value in that county, as we found out at our Fireside Chat, where we were pushed hard for discriminating. The issue is moving toward the front burner in another county.
Whatever the legal niceties, our Council will be damaged by being out of compliance with this law and this community value.

Second, one of the three United Ways which provides significant funding to use has made it clear that we are in danger of losing that funding. The head of the committee which coordinates human services in the county has protested our policies privately, and is likely to go public soon. Another United Way is becoming interested in the question. Protests are beginning in two large cities near us, and it is, we think, inevitable that we will be the subject of a major uproar here. We cannot see the gain in the National BSA's picking a fight with the United Way. That organization has been intertwined with Scouting for many years and, because of the heavy involvement of local business people, does
reflect the center of community values.

Third, issues from around the country about the Learning for Life Program are beginning to surface here. Two School Districts in the area we serve are uninterested in LFL in part because of the BSA's perceived discrimination. So far, communication on this has taken place on an informal level, but if school boards are formally confronted with the question, we might well wind up losing the access to schools which our Units now have, never mind starting the new Learning for Life programs.

Fourth, the effect on Scouting's leadership-- the issue the National BSA constantly raises-- if the policy is reversed will in fact be slight. The choice of leaders is very much a local matter, and local Units, where parents are usually in control, are unlikely to choose people whose lifestyles are
widely divergent from community values concerning youth leadership.

Finally, the national BSA's position interferes with the right of the local Chartered Partner to choose its own leaders. Since the national BSA has made clear in its own child abuse prevention training that homosexuals are no more likely to abuse children than heterosexuals, the question at stake here is
whether any homosexual could ever server as a role model for youth. We believe that that question should be left up to the parents close to the situation, those that typically make up a Unit Committee under the direction of the Chartered Partner.

If something isn't done about this situation, many Councils around the country will be in a lose-lose situation, faced with losing their charters or losing local funding. In either one of these cases, the children we serve are the ultimate losers. We urge the National Executive Board to reconsider and to
reverse this policy. Furthermore, we urge the organizers of the upcoming national meeting to plan and advertise a serious discussion of this question, so that the National BSA can hear from the many Councils for which this membership policy is a problem. Our delegates will com to Cincinnati looking forward to that discussion.

Sincerely yours,

Robert Gwinn



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.

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