Newburgh, NY Gay Residents, Say Scouts Should Not Be Allowed to Use School Buildings
Middletown Times Herald-Record, December 21, 2000
40 Mulberry St., Middletown, NY, 10940
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Newburgh's scouts in schools policy irks gays
NEWBURGH: Gay residents are upset that the school board is allowing Boy Scouts to use school buildings for meetings.
By A. Tacuma Roeback, The Times Herald-Record
Local gay and lesbian taxpayers contend that the Newburgh school board, which bans organizations that discriminate
from using school buildings, is ignoring its own policy.
They're upset over the school board's decision to allow Hudson Valley Boy Scout troops to use school buildings,
despite the organizations' stance against admitting gay men as Scout leaders.
"If they will discriminate, they shouldn't be using public facilities," said Michael Gabor, who
is openly gay and lives in the City of Newburgh.
The Supreme Court upheld the Boy Scouts of America's right to bar openly gay men from being troop leaders
But at a November school board meeting, Richard Trier, Scout executive for the Hudson Valley Council, said
troops won't discriminate.
"We do not ask people if they're gay when they join," Trier said yesterday.
He stressed the Boy Scouts' ban focuses on avowed gay men who want to be troop leaders. Trier said gay
men would not be admitted as troop leaders.
That doesn't jibe with Rainbow Elite, a Newburgh gay and lesbian organization.
"How can we, in the year 2000, decide that it's OK for people to discriminate on the basis of sexual
orientation?" said Aquanetta Wright, spokeswoman for Rainbow Elite.
Rainbow Elite is consulting with Empire State Pride Agenda, a gay and lesbian political watchdog group,
on a possible course of action.
Wright said Rainbow Elite plans to watch the Hudson Valley Boy Scouts.
Newburgh School District legal counsel David Shaw said the Boy Scouts will have to police themselves.
He also said that if there is enough factual proof of discrimination on the part of the Boy Scouts, the
board would have an inquiry or a hearing.
For now, the 1,100 members who meet regularly at various Newburgh school buildings have a place to call
To Gabor, who pays $10,000 in school taxes for three properties, it's unjust.
"I'm paying school taxes; I should also have a say," he said.