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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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Pack 34 Westwood, Western Los Angeles County Council Plays Hardball with Cub Scout Pack 34 because they have taken a stand on the side of human rights.

Daily News of Los Angeles, December 7, 2000
21221 Oxnard Street, Los Angeles, CA, 91367
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Pack tolerant of gays risks losing charter

An outspoken Cub Scout pack in Westwood could be kicked out of the Boy Scouts of America because it has vowed to ignore sexual orientation when Choosing a leader, parents and Scout leaders said Wednesday.

Pack No. 34 of the Crescent Bay District said it might form its own group similar to the Scouts in order to practice its own code that parents drafted, stating members will not discriminate against anyone because of sexual orientation.

BSA's Los Angeles leadership said the code violates the organization's principles excluding gays, and that the pack might be denied renewal of its charter, which will expire at the end of this year.


"We're supposed to be building an inclusionary society, and . . . the message from the Boy Scouts that morally upright gay Scout leaders shall be expelled, I think, is a very unfortunate lesson,'' said Peter Samuelson, whose son belongs to the pack.

Doug Hilke, director of field services for the Scouts' Western Los Angeles County Council, said the council's executive board has yet to decide whether to renew the pack's charter. The decision, he said, will more likely be based on specific actions the pack takes, such as appointing a pack leader
who openly discusses his homosexuality, rather than on the written policy itself.

"The thing we really look toward here is action, what exactly is occurring,'' Hilke said. "The board will determine if this document will threaten the relationship between the sponsoring organization and this
council.''

Hilke insisted the Scouts' anti-gay policy is not discriminatory. He said it is akin to the military's "Don't ask, don't tell,'' policy. Troop leaders are not asked their sexual orientation and are expected not to
discuss it with the children.

While other Boy Scout and Cub Scout groups have expressed disagreement with the BSA policy, Hilke said, Cub Scout Pack 34 parents are the most outspoken in the Western Los Angeles County Council, which stretches from the Antelope Valley down to Los Angeles International Airport. The pack drafted the pledge after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of the Scout organization to exclude openly gay men from leadership positions. Since the Supreme Court decision in the summer, Pack 34's
previous Cub master has resigned in protest and membership has dwindled from 54 to 17, said Tracey Born Fitzgerald, a parent who serves as acting Cub master.

"The majority left because they felt scouting was intolerant,'' Fitzgerald said. "They left because they disagreed. Our Cub master resigned because he did not want to be part of the organization.''

 

 

 

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