Tuesday, April 15, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Boy Scouts open ranks to gay youth on Jan. 1

By
From page A12 | December 29, 2013 | 4 Comments

The Boy Scouts of America will accept openly gay youths starting on New Year’s Day, a historic change that has prompted the BSA to ponder a host of potential complications — ranging from policies on tentmates and showers to whether Scouts can march in gay pride parades.

Yet despite their be-prepared approach, BSA leaders are rooting for the change to be a non-event, comparable to another New Year’s Day in 2000 when widespread fears of digital-clock chaos to start the new millennium proved unfounded.

“My hope is there will be the same effect this Jan. 1 as the Y2K scare,” said Brad Haddock, a BSA national executive board member who chairs the policy implementation committee. “It’s business as usual, nothing happens and we move forward.”

Some churches are dropping their sponsorship of Scout units because of the new policy and some families are switching to a new conservative alternative called Trail Life USA. But massive defections haven’t materialized and most major sponsors, including the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches, are maintaining ties.

“There hasn’t been a whole lot of fallout,” said Haddock, a lawyer from Wichita, Kan. “If a church said they wouldn’t work with us, we’d have a church right down the street say, ‘We’ll take the troop.’”

The new policy was approved in May, with support from 60 percent of the 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s National Council. The vote followed bitter nationwide debate, and was accompanied by an announcement that the BSA would continue to exclude openly gay adults from leadership positions.

Under the new membership policy, youths can no longer be barred from the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or coed Venturers program solely on the basis of sexual orientation. However, gay Scouts will face some limitations.

“Any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” says one BSA document. “No member may use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda, including on the matter of sexual orientation.”

Trying to anticipate potential friction, the BSA has distributed extensive explanations and question-and-answer documents related to the policy.

Some examples:

—Could a Scout march in uniform in a gay-pride parade? No, says the BSA. “Each youth member is free as an individual to express his or her thoughts or take action on political or social issues but must not use Scouting’s official uniforms and insignia when doing so.”

—How publicly active could a gay Scout be, in terms of gay-rights advocacy? The BSA’s reply: “While a youth member may acknowledge his or her sexual preference, that acknowledgment may not reach the level of distraction, which may include advocacy, promotion, or the distribution of information of a sexual nature.”

A frequently-asked-questions document anticipates that some objections might surface from parents — or Scouts themselves — in cases where a unit includes an openly gay boy.

Regarding shower and toilet facilities, the BSA says it is encouraging units to provide greater individual privacy, including moving away from the tradition of group showers.

“The adult leaders have the discretion to arrange private showering times and locations,” the BSA says.

Sleeping arrangements also are addressed, with specific decisions left to unit leaders.

“If a Scout or parent of a Scout makes a request to not tent with another Scout, their wishes should be honored,” says the BSA.

Haddock says “isolated pockets” of problems are likely to surface, but overall he expects adult leaders will have the skills to defuse potential conflicts.

There are about 1 million adult leaders and 2.6 million youth members in Scouting in the U.S. Of the roughly 110,000 Scout units, 70 percent are sponsored by religious organizations, including several conservative denominations that had long supported the BSA’s exclusion of gay youth and gay adults.

Among the major sponsors, the Southern Baptist Convention made clear its disappointment with the new youth policy, but left the decision on whether to cut ties up to local churches. An SBC spokesman, Sing Oldham, said it was not known how many churches have done so.

The biggest sponsor of Scout units — the Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — commended the BSA for a “thoughtful, good-faith effort” to address a challenging issue, and said it would stay engaged in Scouting.

John Gailey of the Utah National Parks Council, the nation’s largest council, said its youth membership had increased from 74,148 in December 2012 to 75,863 this month.

Like the Mormons, the Roman Catholic Church has generally accepted the new policy. Many parishes will continue to sponsor Scout units, though a few have considered cutting ties.

The National Catholic Committee on Scouting posted a question-and-answer document on its website, delving into the intersection of Scouting policy and Catholic teaching.

“The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that individuals who disclose a same-sex attraction are to be treated with the same dignity due all human beings … and also teaches that engaging in sexual activity outside of marriage is always immoral,” says the Q-and-A, concluding that the new BSA policy does not contradict Catholic teaching.

The ultimate decision on whether parishes would maintain or cut ties with the BSA was left to individual bishops. Several expressed cautious support for continuing in Scouting.

“As the new policy currently stands, I see no reason to prohibit our parishes from sponsoring Boy Scout troops,” said Rev. Kevin Rhoades, bishop of Indiana’s Fort Wayne-South Bend diocese. “At the same time, it is critical that we be vigilant on how this new policy is interpreted and implemented.”

One likely target of such scrutiny will be former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, scheduled to take over in the spring as the BSA’s next president. As leader of the Pentagon, Gates helped change the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy banning openly gay soldiers, and gay-rights groups hope he will try to end the BSA’s ban on gay adult leaders.

The new youth policy was approved during a BSA meeting in May in the Dallas-Fort Worth suburb of Grapevine, near the Scouts’ national headquarters in Irving, Texas.

Texas has a long heritage of Scouting, with tens of thousands of youth members and many families claiming generations of Eagle Scouts. Among them is Gov. Rick Perry, who achieved Scouting’s highest rank growing up in the small town of Paint Creek.

The membership debate was closely followed by local Scouts on both sides; some carried signs and held rallies outside the meeting place. But in subsequent months, the debate has quieted.

Bill Helfand, scoutmaster of Troop 55 in Houston, said membership in his troop has remained steady at about 225 boys.

“We never considered sexual orientation, and I don’t think many troops really did,” Helfand said. “I don’t know whether we had Scouts who are homosexual. I don’t inquire … It’s not a matter of concern.”

Helfand said the membership debate, while closely covered in the media, did not extend into his meetings with leaders and parents, besides occasional discussion of the policy at camp-outs. He says he hasn’t talked to any Scout about his sexual orientation and doesn’t intend to.

“I know that this is something that people felt was a momentous turning point for Scouting,” Helfand said. “Everybody I know has made Scouting available to every boy who wants it, and that’s what we continue to do.”

However, some Texas parents and leaders have decided to switch to Trail Life USA, an alternative which declares itself “a Christian adventure, character, and leadership program for young men.” Among them is Ron Orr, a business consultant from the Fort Worth area who is signing up local units for the group.

So far, he said he has 25 groups “pre-chartered” for a Jan. 1 launch date in the territory covered by the BSA’s Circle Ten and Longhorn councils. That’s modest compared to the 39,000 Scouts served by the Circle Ten council alone.

Orr is part of a family with four generations of Eagle Scouts. His older son recently earned his Eagle rank and his younger son was on the verge of doing likewise. But Orr said he could not stand by after the policy change.

“As Christians, from a scriptural basis, we love all folks, but the scripture is very clear that being homosexual is a sin,” Orr said. “We’ve got to be able to hold a strong line and set a consistent example for our young men.”

Orr said his decision to cut ties with the BSA rested in part on the Scout Oath, which includes the admonition to remain “morally straight.”

Scott Scarborough of Lubbock, Texas, is helping Orr recruit Trail Life members in the Texas Panhandle, a mostly rural, conservative region. Scarborough said he offered to let his 14-year-old son stay in Boy Scouts and achieve his Eagle rank, but the boy elected to join him in Trail Life.

Orr and Scarborough said they didn’t consider themselves rivals to the Boy Scouts, though they’ve chosen a different path.

“Our tradition comes out of Boy Scouts,” Scarborough said. “We’ll never not honor that heritage.”

___

Online:

BSA’s FAQs: http://bit.ly/199nefd

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 4 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • The MisterDecember 29, 2013 - 8:39 am

    Explain this to me... "gay youth". A "youth" is a person under the age of majority... 17 years old or younger. "Gay" is slang for hom0sexual. To be a hom0sexual, one must engage in sex with another of the same gender. A youth cannot legally consent to a sex act. For a youth to be a "gay youth" by definition means that person has been r@ped (statutorily or otherwise) by another person (of the same gender). The point is... every "gay youth" is a r@ped youth. To embrace and promote "gay youth" is to embrace and promote ped0philia. You people are sick, sick, sick!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksDecember 29, 2013 - 9:00 am

    The Mister, your bizarre comments are getting beyond the usual cynicism you produce. There is no way to know how many minors are dealing with their se*uality but it doesn't necessarily mean they're participating in the act. How do you feel about hetero youth? They're hooking up daily, that okay? STOP equating gay with pedophilia! That is an ign*rant and misrepresentative statement.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterDecember 29, 2013 - 9:37 am

    If I rob a bank, I'm a "bank robber". If I am curious or fantasize about robbing a bank, I'm not a "bank robber". A "gay youth", then, is just as I described previously. CD, are you saying that kids are going to have sex anyway, be it with another youth or with an adult, and that's okay... because they're going to do it anyway? Why don't we do those things, individually and as a society, to protect our youth? Wouldn't that be a better thing to do than to make excuses for kids being r@ped?

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • CD BrooksDecember 29, 2013 - 10:56 am

    The Mister, not what I said. People kids and adults alike are going to have s*x one way or another. Are you married? Do you have kids? I'm presuming you to be an adult hetero male, haven't you ever messed around a little with the girls? I didn't say it was okay, I've just been around long enough to know that's the way it is. My main point was using pedophilia in the discussion, it is wrong in the context you presented. No, I did not say anything about adults and/or adults with kids. We know that is not okay. My question to you was are you okay with hetero youth having s*x but not gay youth? Apparently you are not so good enough.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Crews make quick work of vehicle fire

By Glen Faison | From Page: A6, 6 Comments | Gallery

 
People line up for Krispy Kreme opening

By Glen Faison | From Page: , 11 Comments | Gallery

Solano Jews gather for start of Passover

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Weather for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
 
County discusses consolidated dispatch

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Paper Clover Campaign supports Solano County 4-H

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Miner Slough Bridge to see repairs

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
‘Heaven is for Real’ opens Wednesday

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B5

Fiesta Days pageant organizers seek contestants

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A5

 
Easter hunt set for Mare Island

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A5

 
Coakley joins Solano fair board

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A6

 
.

US / World

Police: Man comes to courthouse in stolen car

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 4 Comments

 
California officials nab 11 in drug ring bust

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments

 
Robotic submarine deployed in search for plane

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

Post, Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA revelations

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Ukraine struggles as east slips out of its control

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Police: Utah mom admitted to killing her 6 babies

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Blast at bus station in Nigerian capital kills 72

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Kansas shooting suspect had no record of violence

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

 
Landmark thermometer to be renovated, relit

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Engaged pair, teen athlete among dead in bus crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Spray-painted fire hydrants costing San Francisco

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 2 Comments | Gallery

 
.

Opinion

Editorial cartoons for April 15, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page:

 
Oh, for the days of Dr. Welby

By Dan K. Thomasson | From Page: A13, 7 Comments

 
 
Pay equity is a tough skill

By Ann McFeatters | From Page:

.

Living

What should I do about my fiancee’s wild sexual history?

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: , 1 Comment

 
Today in History for April 15, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Community Calendar: April 15, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page:

 
Horoscopes for April 15, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

.

Entertainment

With $41.4M, ‘Captain America’ holds off ‘Rio 2′

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Flavor Flav takes plea deal in Vegas battery case

By The Associated Press | From Page: , 1 Comment | Gallery

MTV Movie Awards big Hollywood studio plug-fest

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Aw, geez, ‘Fargo’ is on TV with Billy Bob Thornton

By Frazier Moore | From Page: | Gallery

TVGrid April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
.

Sports

Warriors beat Wolves 130-120, secure 6th seed

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
John Jaso’s pinch-hit HR lifts A’s over Angels 3-2

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Hockey title puts tiny Union on the sports map

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Warriors’ Bogut out indefinitely with rib fracture

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

Prep softball: Fairfield drops 4-0 decision to Dixon

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Prep badminton: Rodriguez rolls to 14-1 win over Davis

By Daily Republic staff | From Page:

 
Haas plans to field Formula 1 team in next 2 years

By The Associated Press | From Page:

A look at 10 things to watch in the NHL playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
49er Culliver pleads not guilty to hit-run charges

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Augie’s Longhorns bounce back after miserable ’13

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Sun take Stanford’s Ogwumike with top pick in WNBA draft

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Pistorius accused of staging outbursts at trial

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
Pro sports becoming more open to paternity leave

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Olympic great Michael Phelps ending retirement

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Kings-Sharks rivalry resumes in 1st round

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Business

April 15 not much of a deadline for most taxpayers

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
Google buys drone maker Titan Aerospace

By The Associated Press | From Page:

 
US stocks recover some ground on retail sales gain

By The Associated Press | From Page:

Is hot market for IPOs cooling?

By The Associated Press | From Page: | Gallery

 
.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Blondie April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Word Sleuth April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Get Fuzzy April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sudoku April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Beetle Bailey April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Frank and Ernest April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Cryptoquote April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Peanuts April 15

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4