Bay Area Boy Scout Council Leads the Way on Gay Rights
A local Boy Scout Council is showing the rest of the nation what it means to be a "responsible citizen and develop character." The Mount Diablo-Silverado Council is publicly calling on the Boy Scouts of America to do away with its ban on openly gay members.
Doesn't differentiate between gay and straight
As KTVU notes today, the Bay Area scouts are the first in the nation to take this new stance on gays belonging to the anti-gay organization.
The council based its decision on a recent survey it conducted, which reportedly found that 65 percent of respondents wanted the current membership policy changed, and 81 percent of the council's active scouts favored dropping the ban.
John Fenoglio, Scout Executive/CEO of the Mt. Diablo Silverado council wrote the following explanation in the council's recent newsletter:
It was not just the data that was so compelling, many of the responses got to the heart of this issue. As an example, respondent number 104: We are so proud of everything scouting does for our sons and our community, but we are so ashamed of the national anti-gay policy. Please change the national policy, so that we do not have to apologize to our friends and family that our son is an Eagle Scout.
The Mount Diablo Council says it will now take those results and work hard to pressure the Boy Scouts of America to change its anti-gay policy nationally.
Fenoglio added that this survey "proves to us that the role that Scouting has in our Council cannot be held hostage by monolithic ideologies."
This is a turning point for the Boy Scouts of America, which has faced mounting public pressure in the last year after a Bay Area teen, Ryan Andresen, was denied his Eagle Scout honor after troop leaders learned he was gay.
Ryan and his mother started a national petition, which garnered more than 460,000 signatures; in January the BSA met to discuss changing its policy, but adjourned the meeting without making any changes to its anti-gay policy.