A fellow official and good friend of mine, "Julia" recently sent an unusually emotional email advising that her partner of 19 years, "Danielle", had been removed as assistant scout leader for their son's Boy Scout troop. The Boys Scouts of America informed Danielle, that the basis of their decision was that her sexual orientation was" a detriment" to the scouts. The notice was sent, ironically, just after the July 4th weekend, a holiday that celebrates the value of freedom: freedom of religion, freedom of choice, freedom to raise your kids and support the community including the Boy Scouts of America.
Danielle volunteered to become a Den leader over six years ago because no other mom was willing or able to make the time commitment to the troop. And with 6 or 7 boys at elementary school eager to join the Scouts, she could not let them down! She became den leader taking all the requisite courses. She recruited another mom willing to help, and over the next 6+ years brought the troop on a journey from cub scouts to boy scouts, keeping them together as a team and taking in other scouts when their dens folded. Her troop won the Blue and Gold competitions ever year. They participate in food drives and other community service projects.
The boys flourished. Under Danielle's leadership, each scout achieved all 20 merit badges for Webelos. They learned life skills such as teamwork, service to others, hard work.
And all this has nothing to do with sexual orientation.
I am outraged and offended by the BSA decision and the blatant prejudice it reveals. From my vantage point, the decision is based on fear and ignorance, hiding behind a false shield of scripture and religion. I have recently learned that the Boy Scouts of America do not allow gays to join. This policy and the dismissal of Danielle leads me to question the integrity of the Scouts' Oath of "Duty to God and country, Duty to Self, and Duty to Others". Recent events suggest that the oath is conditional excluding gays and lesbians. Was this the intent, or just the practice? Either way, this is UNACCEPTABLE.
Please join me in spreading awareness of this great injustice. It is a slap in the face of freedom. I hope this blog will virally seed the eradication of ignorance as demonstrated by the BSA and seed a new freedom for those wishing to enjoy the benefits of scouting.
And yes, this is the 21st Century and a continuation of a fight that began in 1776. It's only been 235 years.