With the Boy Scouts of America national leadership refusing to either consider lifting its ban on LGBT scouts and leaders or make public its rationale for keeping the policy, two large Scout councils have reaffirmed they will not go along with discrimination.
The Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN-based Northern Star Council, which serves over 75,000 scouts in Minnesota and Wisconsin, recently posted a statement reiterating that it welcomes “all people who can help to further Scouting’s mission of youth development.” This commitment to inclusive, the council notes, has been in place for more than a decade.
The Boston Minuteman Council, which serves 8,000-plus scouts in Massachusetts followed suit. Reaffirming at 2001 statement, the council said:
Through the Scout Oath and Law, we pledge to respect all people and to defend the rights of others. Bias, intolerance and unlawful discrimination are unacceptable within the ranks of the Boston Minuteman Council. The Boston Minuteman Council serves youth through volunteers in Packs, Troops and other units without regard to color, race, religion, ethnic background, sexual orientation or economic status. We have done our best to live up to this statement in the decade since its adoption.
A council spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the national organization has long been aware of Boston Minuteman’s policy and has done nothing to interfere.
Eagle Scout Zach Walls, founder of Scouts for Equality, told ThinkProgress that this is “another example of local BSA units standing up for one of the key principles on which the BSA was founded: mutual religious respect. Frankly, I think this is only the beginning.”