By Eli Winter
HOUSTON, Texas, U.S.A. – The Boy Scouts of America today announced a proposed amendment to their ban on gay Scouts. If the proposition is approved by the organization’s National Council, the Scouts will no longer deny “youth ... membership ... on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone.”
On the surface, this might seem a positive change. After all, children throughout the whole nation would now be able to put on the ever-evasive Scouting uniform, pin the ever-elusive merit badges to their sash – be those children gay, straight, bisexual or anything else.
The word “youth.” It doesn’t belong here.
If this proposition is approved, yes, children will be able to put on that uniform, pin those badges to their sash – but what of their parents? Will the gay fathers and lesbian mothers be able to attend meetings of the Scouts as members of the organization instead of being on the outside looking in?
Will Ohio mom and former Scout leader Jennifer Tyrrell, who was ousted from the position because she is a lesbian, be able to “look my children in the eyes and tell them that our family is ... good enough” to join Scouting?
That’s where I feel this proposition’s rationality ends and its absurdity begins. The Boy Scouts of America may obviously be a “boy’s club” of sorts, but that doesn’t grant them the right to exclude men who like men, or women who like women.
In my mind, no one has that right. This proposition deserves to move to its logical conclusion – that is, granting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Scouts and leaders the right to associate themselves with the Boy Scouts of America.
This can be considered a start – all right, I’ll grant you all that. But what’s a start matter if you can’t reach the finish?