Boy Scouts: Ban girls, not gays

BY KATIE KUNTZ | JUNE 14, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Boy Scouts of America have every right to discriminate against whomever it chooses. This right was affirmed in a 2000 Supreme Court ruling that held that the Boy Scouts does indeed have the right to keep homosexuals from volunteering or being members. That being said, there are quite a few Boy Scouts who think this is plain discrimination.

In fact, two weeks ago, on May 30, Zack Wahls, a former UI engineering student and Eagle Scout, let everyone know he was upset with the organization by delivering signed petitions to Boy Scout leaders at a national convention advocating that they change their anti-homosexual policies.

The officials, however, decided to stand by the 2000 Supreme Court ruling and said in a statement, "We do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission."

No kidding, it would be a pretty serious distraction to the Boy Scouts if its members, employees, or volunteers began engaging in homosexual behavior during events. Easy fix, though — let's just make it clear that any sex during Boy Scouts would be a serious problem and a bit of a distraction. OK, no sex during Boy Scouts — got it.

Now that we all agree to not having any sex during Boy Scout events, there is still a problem with the first bit of the statement that says anyone who is an "open or avowed homosexual" is still a distraction to the mission. This is a problem that needs serious attention. It is a problem in our society that we see homosexuality as a sexual deviance and believe that somehow a loving, consensual relationship between adults could be comparable to real deviance, such as incest or rape. Someone who is an "open or avowed" pedophile has no room volunteering in Boy Scouts, but homosexuals have no reason to hide their identities, because homosexuality is not wrong.

The issue is not whether the Boy Scouts should have the right to discriminate against gays — it is an exclusive group, and the same as the KKK can discriminate against blacks and Jews, the Boy Scouts can discriminate against homosexuals. This issue is that it shouldn't: It turns out, a boy is still a boy, even if he's gay.

The self-proclaimed message of the Boy Scouts is evident in the Scout oath and Scout Law: A scout is trustworthy, obedient, loyal, cheerful, helpful, thrifty, friendly, brave, courteous, clean, kind, and reverent.

These are all admirable qualities and not something that homosexual interference would in any way deter. In fact, to the contrary, the actions of the Boy Scouts in removing members such as Jennifer Tyrell from her role as a den leader after a year of service because she was gay is unkind, cowardice, and hurtful-contrary to the law.

Chess clubs ban non-chess players, swim clubs are exclusive to swimmers. The Boy Scouts is not a government agency, it's not a hotel keeping out African Americans, and it's not a college shutting its doors to women. It is an exclusive group — but remember who it is supposed to be excluding. The Boy Scouts is an exclusive group of boys. So Boy Scouts, exclude girls, not gays.

As a former Girl Scout, I want to praise the Girl Scouts of America for providing many of the same goals and teaching many of the same lessons, to serve God, my country, to help others at all times, and to live by the Girl Scout law. That law, however, was not self-contradictory, and the Girl Scouts does accept homosexuals. Figure it out, boys.

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