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September 02, 2014
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editorial

Becoming men of good character


Practical considerations aside, however, ethical arguments have overshadowed the discussion, with some of the most personal statements for change coming from Scouts themselves—both straight and gay—including some who publicly resigned from the BSA.

Here are some samplings from their resignation letters, which can be found online:

“Boy Scouts taught me to be brave and honorable… I cannot be part of an organization that discriminates.”

“The organization which I believe guided me into becoming the man I am today, has practices that go against the very principles I took from it.”

“When something is unethical, you should stand up and say something.”

“Scouting has taught me to honor my conscience.”

“Being morally straight means standing up for equal rights and inclusion, not bigotry.”

[For one of several sites, see: boingboing.net/2012/07/23/eagle-scouts-stand-up-to-the-b.html]

The truth is that there have always been gay Scouts. Until now, even if they were Scouts from an early age and had learned and lived by Scouting’s values, once a boy’s emerging sexual feelings told him he was gay, he has had choose either to keep his sexual preference a secret, or to admit them openly and be forced to resign. If the newly proposed policy passes, however, with its stipulation that “any sexual conduct, whether homosexual or heterosexual… is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” then these Scouts will have different option, namely, to continue to be a part of the Scouting community and uphold its ideals.

This finally brings us to what we see as the key question: If a boy or a man behaves with integrity and honor, what bearing does his sexuality have on his character?

It will be very unfortunate if at the end of the day, the BSA’s national council has decided to keep its ban on gay youth. Straight youth who then choose to remain in the scouts will have learned that it’s okay to exclude people based on their sexual orientation.