By Barbara Raab
Friday, July 7, 2000
The Boy Scouts vow to continue to exclude homosexuals, a position upheld by the Supreme Court, however the Girl Scouts and others organizations have anti-discrimination policies while barring sexual interactions between leaders and children.
The Girl Scouts of America has a dramatically different approach toward homosexuality than that of the Boy Scouts of America: The Boy Scouts has declared that its anti-gay policies are at the core of the organizational message, however the Girl Scouts say they do not discriminate. Yet it is clear that the Girl Scouts believe they must walk a fine line.
The issue of youth organizations' policies toward homosexuality has become increasingly part of the public debate as a result of a U.S. Supreme Court decision in June that upheld the Boy Scouts' right to expel an openly gay scoutmaster.
After the ruling, the Boy Scouts issued a statement reiterating that "an avowed homosexual is not a role model for the values espoused in the Scout Oath and Law" which requires scouts and leaders to be "morally straight."
The Boy Scouts legal victory could be a costly one, however. Public schools, fire departments and other tax-payer-supported entities may withdraw their sponsorship and the special privileges that go with it, particularly where discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation is prohibited by state or local laws.
In addition, many funding sources including charitable organizations and corporations have anti-discrimination policies. The Boy Scouts have already lost financial support from Levi Strauss & Co. and some United Way chapters have halted their contributions. The Boy Scouts have been removed from a list of charities that Connecticut state employees could support through payroll deductions. However, the Boy Scouts declare that their stand has not hurt fund-raising.
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