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Activist Groups Urge Obama to Reject Boy Scout Honor

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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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East Hampton, Long Island, New York, Accepts Scout Units Anti-discrimination Statements and Rejects the BSA Policy of Discrimination


Newsday, November 23, 2000

http://www.newsday.com/coverage/current/news/thursday/nd9589.htm

Board Rejects Ban on Scouts
by Bill Bleyer, Staff Writer

Saying it was constrained by the Constitution and state law, the East Hampton school board Wednesday night rejected a call for a ban on the use of school facilities by the Boy Scouts, but condemned the national scout organization's stance on gays.

The school board was responding to a call for action by the town's Anti-Bias Task Force, which in turn was reacting to a June decision by the Supreme Court upholding the scouts' ouster of a New Jersey scoutmaster after he publicly acknowledged being gay.

While the board did condemn the national Scout organization's policy, it did praise the local troops' commitment not to discriminate against anyone.

"The national leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has advocated a membership policy that is in direct conflict with the principles of acceptance and diversity which are Board of Education priorities...," the board resolution stated. "We applaud the East Hampton...Boy Scouts...for expressing their opposition to discrimination in any form. The Board of Education does not posses the right to exclude any individual or group based solely on their views or policies, whether we agree with them or not." The only suggested addition to the resolution that the school district would not provide any special access or sponsorship to Scout Troops from Laura Grossman, a board member, was turned down. Another member Michael Tracey said "we don't grant special access or privilege to anybody." Several other speakers urged the board to take a stronger position. "It's the wrong message to send," said resident Michael Davidson, a former Cub Scout.

"I think you have to ban them from the schools." "We do not discriminate and will not discriminate," local Cub Scout leader Kevin Fitzgerald reassured the board.

Scout leader Jim Gherardi said it was "unfair and ineffectual" to put the burden on local troops to try to change national scout policy. "If you want change, the pressure has to be brought to bear on the national organization."

School Board President Debbie Mansir told the audience that "under state law, if we exclude the Boy Scouts, we have to exclude every other group. We cannot make moral judgments on groups."

 

 

 

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