In June, the Oregon Supreme Court ordered the release of 20,000 pages of files kept by Boy Scouts of America on “ineligible volunteers.” Portions of those documents were released online last week. But included, among those leaders accused or convicted of molesting Scouts, were files on several suspected gay Scout leaders who were never accused of any inappropriate behavior.
KING 5, a Seattle television station, reports that of 50 cases it reviewed from the files, 48 involved allegations of molestation, but two did not. Among those:
One file is about a scoutmaster form Ellensburg who was outsted from Scouting in 1974 after the organization had collected evidence he was gay. A memorandum from a Scout Executive in Yakima to the organization’s Registration and Subscription Executive at BSA headquarters in Texas explains they’d “become aware of a suspected moral problem” with (the Scout leader). The Yakima executive recieved information that the man had previously been discharged as a Scouting camp counselor “on suspicion of homosexuality.” The Scouts continued to build their case in the file by obtaining “proof” of their suspicion. The record is a four page letter handwritten by the scoutmaster where he confides to a friend, “Yes, I am gay (homosexual)”. It’s unclear from the file how BSA obtained the letter. The following month BSA leaders in Texas completed their file with a lifetime ban on the scoutmaster. Their “Confidential Record Sheet” lists one reason for the move: “homosexuality”.
Boy Scouts of America has long banned gay and lesbian Scouts and scout leaders — the organization stubbornly clings to its policy of discrimination despite mounting pressures for greater inclusion. In July, the organization claimed excluding LGBT people is “absolutely the best policy for the Boy Scouts.”
By itself, the policy of discrimination has seriously harmed LGBT youth and families. But by lumping LGBT people in the same category as child molesters is even more dangerous. Drawing a connection between homosexuality and pedophilia is the same weak argument John Briggs was making 40 years ago in an attempt to ban gay teachers in California. It’s unfounded slander against the entire gay community. Psychologists have affirmed for years that “there is no inherent connection between an adult’s sexual orientation and her or his propensity for endangering others.”