Tags: boy | scouts | gay | ban | parents | members

Boy Scouts Seeking Member, Parent Input on Gay Ban

Wednesday, 13 Mar 2013 12:07 PM

By Cyrus Afzali

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The Boy Scouts of America is sending surveys to parents and scouts as it considers revising or eliminating its ban of gay members and leaders.

The New York Times reported Wednesday that 1.1 million scouts and their families received surveys that ask for input on a variety of issues.

Among the questions asked are: Should gay and straight scouts be allowed to share a tent on a camping trip? It also asks what role faith should play in scouting if a church sponsoring a troop has a position on including or excluding gays and lesbians in its congregation. There are also questions on whether the scout oath declares a value regarding a sexual orientation.

The organization in January said it was considering lifting the ban and allowing the sponsors of local troops to decide whether to permit gays. However, it quickly reversed course and said national leaders needed more time to discuss the issue. It then promised the issue would be discussed at the scouts’ annual meeting in May.

Editor's Note: Should the Boy Scouts Change Gay Ban Policy? Vote Here Now.

A Scouts spokesman said the survey results would be provided to national leaders before the May meeting. He also said another round of surveys will be sent to about 325,000 individuals in scouting alumni groups.

While some expressed concern that the population being sampled could create bias in the findings since people tied on an organization generally support the status quo, others found the questions to be phrased in a neutral way and do not believe they were written to support a specific outcome.

According to the Times, one survey question is, “David, a Boy Scout, believes that homosexuality is wrong. His troop is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith also teaches that homosexuality is wrong. Steve, an openly gay youth, applies to be a member. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this troop to deny Steve membership in their troop?”

Another asks about gay scoutmasters. “A troop is chartered by an organization that does not believe homosexuality is wrong and allows gays to be ministers. The youth minister traditionally serves as the Scoutmaster. The congregation hires a youth minister who is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this youth minister to serve as the Scoutmaster?”

Editor's Note: Should the Boy Scouts Change Gay Ban Policy? Vote Here Now.

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