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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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Den 2, Pack 320 - Ashland, Oregon
Local den objects to Boy Scouts' policy on gays, withdraws

November 10, 1999

ASHLAND, Ore. (AP) -- A local Cub Scout den will pull out of the national Boy Scouts of America because of the organization's efforts to bar homosexuals from leadership positions.

Ashland Cub Scout Den 2 of Pack 320 will not renew its membership with the Boy Scouts of America this year, its leaders announced.

"Our den has decided to discontinue our affiliation with the Boy Scouts of America because of their intolerance of diversity," wrote the den's co-leaders Serena Ota St. Clair and Sally Kirkpatrick in an October letter to the Crater Lake Council of Boy Scouts of America, the regional group based in Central Point.

Executives of the Crater Lake Council declined to comment as of Wednesday.

The den started two years ago and the nine members had moved through their Wolf and Bear badges.

As Boy Scouts, the boys have fed homeless individuals and families, raised money for low-income kids, planted trees and done volunteer yardwork.

"This is all wonderful and worthwhile stuff, but when we matched it with our host organization, who is essentially trying to legalize a form of discrimination, we decided to act with integrity and leave the Boy Scouts of America behind," St. Clair and Kirkpatrick said.

The seeds of the den's withdrawal may have begun at the town's Fourth of July Parade last year, when the boys' entry was placed behind the entry of the Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG).

"Being right by the PFLAG entry, I suddenly realized that I was uncomfortable being part of the Boy Scouts, which were then starting to be seen as discriminating against homosexuals," St Clair said.

"We've been struggling with this."

At their organizational meeting in the fall, den leaders unanimously decided not to renew its Scouts membership. All felt that the national Scout policy discriminated against gay members.

"I think it's stupid because it (homosexuality) doesn't make any difference," said former Cub Scout den member Aidan St. Clair-Bate, St. Clair's fourth-grade son.

Nationally, the Boy Scouts organization was philosophical about the Ashland den's withdrawal.

"It's very important to understand that the Boy Scouts is an entirely volunteer organization," said Boy Scouts of America national spokesman Gregg Shields in a telephone interview from Dallas with the Ashland Daily Tidings.

"If individuals choose not to participate we respect that."

Shields added, "Since 1910 the Boy Scouts have taught basic traditional family values and continue to do so. We feel that an avowed homosexual does not fit these values and is not an appropriate person to be in a leadership position."

The den's co-leaders said that the boys will form a new club, tentatively called Community Kids Club, which will continue to give them opportunities forcommunity service, earth stewardship, and adventure.



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