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18-year-old Boy Scout Ryan Andresen and his mom Karen are interviewed by
Anderson Cooper about the BSA's denial of Eagle Scout rank to him
because he's gay, despite the fact that he had completed every requirement, via Towlroad.

As reported by NBC and confirmed on the Boy Scouts website, they are considering a policy change that would remove the national ban on gay Boy Scouts and leaders. The Board vote may be as soon as next week.

They are apparently actively soliciting feedback on the proposed policy, so let's give it to them.

The number to call is:

972-580-2330

It really only takes a few seconds. Apparently it's a dedicated line. They answer the phone with "Are you for or against changing the policy?"

You are FOR changing it.

I called and told them I spent two summers at Philmont Scout Ranch and was a member of the summer of 1983 Trail Crew. Scouting was an excellent and rewarding experience for me as a boy and a young man, and I believe the experience should be made available to anyone who wishes to be a part of it.

I'm aware, had I lived in these times, I might well have come out earlier, as the kids do these days, and found myself kicked out before I ever got to enjoy Philmont. This needs to stop.

I'm personally of the mind that this is not so much about it being a popular vote as they are looking for political cover from their fundamentalist Christian base, who are currently in throes of a total meltdown and rallying their base to call and oppose the change.

In my opinion, the Boy Scouts want to be able to say, "Well, we listened to the people and the vote was overwhelmingly in favor of changing the policy. Sorry Tony Perkins and Bryan Fischer, you lost." A similar dynamic played out with a New York state senator that was "on the fence" on marriage equality in 2011. So, give them their cover.

You can also send them feedback on Twitter, and Facebook, you can also email them at nationalsupportcenter@scouting.org

There are many people who have worked very, very hard for many years to bring us to this point, GLAAD, Zach "I have two moms" Wahls, the crew at Change.org. Let's bring this victory home for them. If you ever recced a diary or felt a moment's disgust at the BSA, now's the time to call, write or tell them which way to go, go towards inclusive policy.

Originally posted to Milk Men And Women on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:45 PM PST.

Also republished by Angry Gays.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I can't wait until those two cretins (6+ / 0-)

    kick the bucket.

    there will be a great rejoicing across the land.

    [insert pithy sig line here]

    by terrypinder on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:54:13 PM PST

  •  I called and told them (16+ / 0-)

    that as an Eagle Scout, Vigil Honor Member and former Lodge Chief within the Order of the Arrow, former Assistant Scoutmaster, and participant in the 2005 National Scout Jamboree, I want any children I have, if they so desire, to have the same awesome experience I had, regardless of their sexual orientation.

    This ban is an embarrassment and needs to go. I think they're finally realizing that.

    Homosexuality is found in over 450 species. Homophobia is found in only one. Which one seems unnatural now?

    by Chrislove on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:55:12 PM PST

  •  i think it's deeply cynical (7+ / 0-)

    they'll remove the national ban, but leave it up to individual units. so, they're effectively saying that they won't be a top down hierarchy of bigotry, but they also won't take a stand against bigotry. it strikes me as the path of least conscience, in trying to get their intel money back.

    The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

    by Laurence Lewis on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 12:59:43 PM PST

  •  SCOTT add this...EMAIL address too. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea

    Here from Advocate piece:

    According to GLAAD, calls to the BSA's National Service desk (972-580-2330) ask callers, "Are you for or against the change in policy?"
     Emails can also be sent to

    nationalsupportcenter@scouting.org

    Proud to be part of the 21st Century Democratic Majority Party of the 3M's.. Multiracial,Multigender and MiddleClass

    by LOrion on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:16:12 PM PST

  •  It's stomach-turning (8+ / 0-)

    to hear the anti-equality forces equate homosexuality with non-consensual sex, e.g., the reference to rapist Jerry Sandusky.

    I guess I shouldn't be too surprised.

    Thanks for the diary.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:30:42 PM PST

  •  Hope this hits the Rec list (4+ / 0-)

    It's a very nice action item with a good chance of being high-impact.

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 01:31:53 PM PST

  •  Sent an email (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, Eric Nelson, bythesea

    Tipped and Recommended.  Thanks for all you do Scott.

    "I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now." -B. Dylan

    by S F Hippie on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:07:43 PM PST

  •  Called, T&Rd!! nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge, Eric Nelson, bythesea

    ...Seneca Falls, Selma and Stonewall.
    Blog hard, community harder!

    by cooper888 on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:09:32 PM PST

  •  !!! This is an outrage !!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Scott Wooledge

    I just called the number listed in the diary and they refused to take my cookie order. You can't get thin mints at the store you know!

    They did accept my "FOR" vote though.


    Not this mind and not this heart, I won't rot • Mumford & Sons

    by jayden on Wed Jan 30, 2013 at 02:23:33 PM PST

  •  Personally, I couldn't care less what they do. (0+ / 0-)

    They went to court twice to declare themselves a religious organization, once to show hatred of gay people and once to show their contempt for atheists.

    Now they're announcing that they're going to engage in 50% less hatred and we're supposed to say, "all is well!"

    I told my boys - when they were of scouting age - that under no circumstances would I participate in this organization.

    In our family we lived the idea that "hatred is not a family value."

  •  How the hell did this not make the rec list? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bythesea, Scott Wooledge

    I was gone and just got back; guess my untimely lack of rec was the culprit (heh).

    I called but I just got put on hold for a long time.

  •  This is what I sent to BSA's Feedback E-mail (0+ / 0-)
    I am a former Scoutmaster of a troop that was active in South Florida for 52 years (one of the first female Scoutmasters in our council - got some flack at first - but what do you do when no dad / uncle wants the job?  Fortunately, our church and the Troop committee were all OK with it - as long as SOMEBODY was willing, they didn't care if it was a man or a woman - I was lucky - there are troops who won't allow women in their units, other than to run the spaghetti dinners).  I was the SM for 3 years, ASM for 4 years before that and ASM again afterwards for 3 more years.  My son is an Eagle Scout. I am Wood Badge trained and was District Scouter of the Year in 1995. Our troop was chartered to United Church of Christ.

    We were forced to fold when our church refused to sign the discriminatory policy memorandum after the SCOTUS decision in the Dale case in 2000. In all the years I had been in Scouts, first as an Explorer when they went co-ed in the 1970's, through the 20 years I was an adult leader for my son's Pack and Troop, heading up our District Advancement Committee, going to summer camp every year for 10 years - even after my son went away to college, becoming a Brotherhood member of the OA, never, ever once, did ANYBODY say that we were supposed to discriminate against gay kids or their gay family members. We were completely taken by surprise in 2000.  

    There was no written policy until after that case went to court (the original case before it went to SCOTUS). Each unit's chartering sponsor was responsible for picking leaders from among their own members or people they knew in the neighborhood. There were packs and troops on practically every corner - something for everybody. If you particularly wanted a Catholic troop, or Mormon troop or school-based troop, you could join that one. We had Catholic kids, Protestant kids, Jewish kids and we had kids that gay family members who went hiking with us, taught merit badges in their career field (including some Eagle required badges).

    When we did our annual family camping, everybody was welcome. We knew and liked each other and we were all there to support our kids in the Scouting program. After 2000 the membership in our district dropped drastically - school units closed down, UCC units closed down. We went from nearly 60 units to less than a dozen - mostly Catholic church or Mormon church based charters.

    I have friends who are still registered leaders, who basically practice DADT. It's not enough. The chartering organizations should be allowed to decide what their troops and packs will consist of membership-wise. Nobody is going to get contaminated at a Jamboree or Camporee or Section Conference if kids from open and affirming units show up to participate with the non-open units.  They're all there to do Pioneering and have camp fires and take merit badge classes. They're there to hike and camp and make friends. Which is just as it should be.

    I swear, I think the boys would be better at dealing with this than the adults. Our Scouts are a lot smarter than many people give them credit for - it's the adults and national leadership who are telling them that it's OK to discriminate.

    Lift the ban. Let the unit's chartering organization decide. Everybody takes training in Youth Protection, everybody has background checks, everybody knows each other locally. Let them decide their own internal unit policies themselves.

    Scott, I just noticed your FB post about the President speaking out about this during his Super Bowl interview - YAYYYYY!!  

    My son has also written to BSA - he lives in Canada now, where Scouting is open (and his wife thinks it's very strange that our BSA isn't - Canadian scouts have been open as long as she can remember).  He has friends here in the US who came out in college - Eagle Scouts, OA Vigil Honor brothers - he's supported them 100% - they are, after all, his brothers.  He's done OA Trail Crew at Philmont, too (summer of 1998).  He said it was the best experience of his pre-adult life.  He has so many great memories of his time in Scouts and OA, I know he would love for the next generation to be able to have that experience, too.  

    His aunt (who is only a couple of years older than he is) is gay (she was actually one of my troop's merit badge counselors after she got on with the Fire Department).  Ryan would love for his little cousin to be in a Cub Scout pack, but not unless his two moms are welcome.  We would volunteer again in a minute to help my nephew's unit, if they lift this ban so they can all join up - and we've both got the qualifications and the skills - a little update in our training (it's been 10 years since we both dropped our membership) and we'd be good to go.  

    This is the first time in 12 years that we've been hopeful that the BSA will wake up and realize that their discriminatory policies are actually against everything they claim to stand for.  

    "Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it's only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential." - Barack Obama

    by Ricochet67 on Sun Feb 03, 2013 at 03:04:19 PM PST

  •  Maybe someday atheists as well (0+ / 0-)

    Know someone who was denied Eagle over that.

    Government and laws are the agreement we all make to secure everyone's freedom.

    by Simplify on Mon Feb 04, 2013 at 09:02:39 PM PST

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