by JASMINE ELSHAMY Photo & Video Editor
The Boy Scouts of America have been making quite a big effort to keep gay boys out of their scouting adventures, and that is what has been bringing so much national attention to them. Something most fail to notice, though, is the lack of separation between church and state with this organization.
Recently, the BSA decided to delay the highly-anticipated vote to lift the anti-gay policy among the Scouts, and many suspect the Mormon church may have had some influence on this. Their top sponsor is the Utah-based Latter-Day Saints Church, a Mormon church. The 14 million-member LDS Church has 420,977 youths in 37,882 Scouting units.
“I am not quite sure what there is left to deliberate,” says freshman Toni Rothchild. “They are purposely not letting people into their organization because of who they love. As if it’s something that they can change about them!”
Knowing this, the Boy Scouts is also funded for and supported by the government. According to secular.org, Congress passed a resolution in 2005 allowing the BSA to use federal land for their annual Jamboree, which costs taxpayers up to $8 million. Moreover, the organization is granted access to public buildings, such as schools, to hold their meetings.
Even our beloved President Obama, who has made it quite clear that he supports marriage equality and is accepting of homosexuality in this country, is the honorary president of the BSA, as has every president been since the organization first started.
However, the BSA has lost funding since the battle to “keep the gay away” began; they lost major corporations like UPS, United Way, the Merck Company Foundation, and the Intel Foundation. Moreover, over 70,000 Verizon customers signed a petition asking the company to stop funding the discriminatory program.
Since the late 1970s, the Boy Scouts executive leadership has discriminated against gay members. In 2000, the Supreme Court ruled that forcing the organization to accept gay members would violate its rights under the First Amendment, and the Boy Scouts reaffirmed their ban on gay scouts and scoutmasters in 2012. Since then, hundreds of Scouts have returned their pins in protest, and the Boy Scouts anti-gay stance has even outlasted the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.
“I don’t really care who is against it, but no matter what the case, there should never be any discussion or arguments over whether gays should or shouldn’t be allowed! It’s ridiculous that we’re in the year 2013 and this is still an issue with this organization. They should be an example to others, including the boys that they’re leading, not instilling homophobia even further in this country,” says sophomore Carrie Earl.
The Boy Scouts have decided that the decision will now be made at the organization’s annual meeting in May. About 1,400 members of the group’s national council will take part during the gathering, the board said.
“After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy,” the board said in a written statement.