The discriminatory stance that the Boy Scouts of America has taken against gays among their ranks has been a thorn in my side since I knew my first born would be a boy. Our position as parents, that our sons would not join a group that discriminates against gay boys or gay leaders, has been unpopular among our many friends who aren’t as passionate as we are about equal civil rights. I have been quite vocal at school meetings (where the scouts recruit boys), with my fellow mothers, on Facebook, etc. I’ve spoken to my gay friends and promised my solidarity regardless of the pressure. And, yes, as a result, we had to begin having conversations with our son two years ago about what it means to be inclusive and why joining the Cub-then-Boy-Scouts would not happen as long as they excluded gay boys and men.
It’s caused many a heated debate with otherwise decent friends because our not allowing our son to join caused problems of exclusion from events for him. But, I would not relent, and would not cave to their pressure.
Our most recent conversations have centered around how our older son would feel if the Boy Scouts (or any group) wouldn’t allow red-heads to join. Would he want to be a member of a group that his brother couldn’t be a part of. His answer was a resounding NO! It was easy, then, to draw the parallel between his brother’s red-hair, something he was born with, and someone’s sexual orientation, something they were born with. In this way, he is able to understand.
In May, the president of the BSA called for a lift on the ban of gay leaders but also said that he would not call for a vote on the matter during the remainder of his two year tenure. The story sort of died after that and just last week I asked my friends who have boys in the Scouts if they’d heard anything new, to which they replied, no.
So, imagine my surprise when one of those moms sent this to me yesterday. We are now one vote away from having the choice of becoming a Scout family, provided our local chapter also supports gays in leadership roles.