A small, Maryland-based chapter of the Boy Scouts of America was forced to take down a statement from their website promising inclusivity and welcoming LGBT scouts and their families after their regional superiors threatened to pull the group’s formal affiliation with the national organization.
Members of Pack 442 voted several months ago to approve a new nondiscrimination clause that included protections for the LGBT community in addition to race, religion, national origin and ability.
The National Capital Area Council, a regional outpost of BSA leadership, spoke with Mother Jones about the pack’s decision:
Les Baron, CEO and Scout Executive of NCAC, confirms to Mother Jones that if the pack doesn’t erase the declaration, “they will not be recognized as an organization, although that’s our last resort.” That means that the troop will lose access to member insurance, rank badges, and scout camps. The only problem with the statement, Baron acknowledges, is the reference to sexual orientation. “That’s a message that’s against our policy, and we don’t want it continue to be out in our community,” Baron says.
In response to the NCAC’s threat, hundreds of supporters signed a petition on Change.org calling on the NCAC to stand up for Pack 442 and reject the national organization’s intolerance. For its part, Pack 442 complied with the NCAC’s demand to remove their policy from the group’s website, and NCAC is not revoking their charter. But the pack’s committee chair Theresa Phillips said they would continue to welcome LGBT scouts and families, saying “I asked for my name to removed from the charter because I feel like if gay/lesbian individuals are not worthy of being registered leaders, then I am not either.”
Over the weekend, Pack 442 posted a statement on their website where their non-discrimination policy was once displayed:
Due to pressure from the National Capital Area Council of BSA, Pack 442 was forced to remove its Non-Discrimination statement in order to keep our Charter (set to expire Jan 31st). This Non-Discrimination statement, previously posted here, welcomed ALL families.
The Boy Scouts of America reaffirmed their longstanding, institutionalized homophobia last summer when they upheld their ban on LGBT scouts and family members. In the months since, several of the organization’s biggest financial backers have ended their relationship with the group, citing their anti-LGBT policy.