Pressure for Boy Scouts of America to Change Anti-LGBT Policy

Author: The Human Rights Campaign
Published: Wednesday 28th January 2015 - Updated: Sunday 6th September 2015
Summary: The group in 2013 voted to allow openly-gay youth to participate in Boy Scouts, but has maintained its longstanding ban on LGBT leaders.


The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, commended the California Supreme Court for barring judges from non-profit youth organizations like the Boy Scouts of America that discriminate against LGBT people - mirroring new standards HRC will require Fortune 500 to meet in its annual Corporate Equality Index (CEI) .

"The Boy Scouts of America's practice of discrimination in banning LGBT leaders is not just wrong but totally incompatible with professional values of equality, fairness and equal opportunity," said Deena Fidas, director of HRC Foundation's Workplace Equality Program, and co-author of the foundation's annual Corporate Equality Index, which rates Fortune 500 companies on LGBT equality in the workplace.

"The move on the part of California's judges to bar participation in groups like BSA mirrors what we are seeing among corporate allies of equality - a widespread rejection of the organization's stubborn unwillingness to join the 21st century," Fidas said. "In maintaining its practice of anti-LGBT discrimination, BSA undermines its own stated commitment to communities and youth, as well as its own survival as companies increasingly pull funding and resources from discriminatory groups."

The change to judicial ethics rules will effectively prevent judges in California from participating in the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), which bans gay and lesbian adults from serving as leaders in the organization.

The group in 2013 voted to allow openly-gay youth to participate in Boy Scouts, but has maintained its longstanding ban on LGBT leaders.

This year, HRC announced new criteria for its annual CEI that will require businesses to implement philanthropic giving standards prohibiting company donations to groups, like the BSA, that have anti-LGBT policies. Businesses including Caterpillar, Intel, Disney, and UPS have already publicly stated that they will no longer fund the BSA because of its discrimination against LGBT people.

Judges in California have until January 21, 2016, to comply with the court's welcome edict.

The high court also lifted a ban on judges' participation in military organizations in light of the fact that gay and lesbian people can now serve openly in the military. But left unaddressed is the egregious fact that the military still bans transgender people.

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.

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UPDATE: (July 27, 2015) - Statement From the Boy Scouts of America Regarding Adult Leadership Standards

The following statement may be attributed to the Boy Scouts of America.

"Today, the Boy Scouts of America National Executive Board ratified a resolution that removes the national restriction on openly gay adult leaders and employees. The resolution is effective immediately. Of those present and voting, 79 percent voted in favor of the resolution.

"Chartered organizations will continue to select their adult leaders, and religious chartered organizations may continue to use religious beliefs as criteria for selecting adult leaders, including matters of sexuality. This change allows Scouting's members and parents to select local units, chartered to organizations with similar beliefs, that best meet the needs of their families. This change also respects the right of religious chartered organizations to choose adult volunteer leaders whose beliefs are consistent with their own.

"Moving forward, we will continue to focus on reaching and serving youth, helping them grow into good, strong citizens. By focusing on the goals that unite us, we are able to accomplish incredible things for young people and the communities we serve."

The Boy Scouts of America provides the nation's foremost youth program of character development and values-based leadership training, which helps young people be "Prepared. For Life.®" The Scouting organization is composed of nearly 2.4 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.


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