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26

Aug
2015

In Campaign News
scouting

By Zach Wahls

Scouts for Equality Statement on Mormon Church’s Decision to Stay in Scouting

On 26, Aug 2015 | In Campaign News, scouting | By Zach Wahls

For Immediate Release
August 26, 20155
Press Contact: Zach Wahls
E-mail: press@scoutsforequality.org
Phone: 202-413-3002

 
SCOUTS FOR EQUALITY RESPONDS TO CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST OF LATTER-DAY SAINTS’ DECISION TO STAY IN BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA


Washington, D.C. — In response to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ decision to continue its partnership with the Boy Scouts of America, Zach Wahls, co-founder and Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, issued the following statement:

 

“We are heartened by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ decision to continue working with the Boy Scouts of America and to continue offering the program to its young men. We have maintained from the beginning of our campaign that the values and life lessons of Scouting are universal, and we would have been saddened to see hundreds of thousands of youth denied the opportunity to participate in the Boy Scouts. We hope to continue to work to build a stronger and more welcoming Boy Scouts of America with friends and allies across the religious and political spectrum.”

11

Aug
2015

In scouting

By Justin Paul Wilson

Is your BSA unit inclusive? Let everyone know, and watch your membership grow!

On 11, Aug 2015 | In scouting | By Justin Paul Wilson

Two weeks ago, the Boy Scouts of America ended their national ban on gay adults, but individual faith-based chartering organizations may still choose to discriminate based on sexual orientation when selecting adult leaders. This leaves many Scout families left to wonder – how do I know which units are inclusive?

To help answer that question, Scouts for Equality is pleased to announce the launch of our Inclusive Unit Certification program! Units can self-report as inclusive, letting everyone else know where they stand. Soon, we’ll be sharing this information publicly via an interactive map. You unit can choose to simply self-identify as inclusive, or “reach for the stars” by working towards our Silver and Gold levels of certification. The various levels of certification are for the unit’s private use only, and the map and website will simply list the unit without identifying the level to which they’ve attested.

For more information on how to participate, please visit https://www.scoutsforequality.org/inclusive-units.

If you have questions, please contact us at chapters@scoutsforequality.org.

10

Aug
2015

In scouting

By Zach Wahls

Following End of Boy Scouts’ Ban on Gay Members, Partners and Supporters Return in Droves

On 10, Aug 2015 | In scouting | By Zach Wahls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, August 10, 2015
Press Contact: Zach Wahls
E-mail: press@scoutsforequality.org

Following End of Boy Scouts’ Ban on Gay Members, Partners and Supporters Return in Droves

Unitarian Universalist Association and Union for Reform Judaism both signal a return to the Boy Scouts of America, citing work by Scouts for Equality

Hundreds of pro-equality supporters have pledged to return to the Boy Scouts of America through Scouts for Equality

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Following July’s historic vote by the Boy Scouts of America to end its ban on gay adults, individuals and groups are already pledging to return to the Scouting organization. Two former BSA chartering organizations—the Union for Reform Judaism and the Unitarian Universalist Association—have announced their intention to move forward in re-establishing ties with the Boy Scouts, citing the work of Scouts for Equality. Both the URJ and the UUA had severed from the Boy Scouts of America because of the BSA’s ban on gay members. In addition, Scouts for Equality reported that more than 250 people had pledged online to return to the Boy Scouts.

“I’m incredibly excited about the response we’ve seen so far,” said Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and the Executive Director of Scouts for Equality. “We are planning to work with our members and partners to charter 1,000 new Boy Scout units in the next twenty-four months. With both the UUA and URJ back, it’s clear we’re off to a great start.”

Scouts for Equality has been a leading voice in the campaign for an end to discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America. Following the end of the BSA’s blanket ban on gay adults, the organization rededicated itself to building a stronger, more inclusive BSA. Scouts for Equality is currently working to certify currently existing units that are inclusive, distribute a strong anti-bullying program, and to charter new, fully inclusive Scout units.

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25

Jul
2015

In scouting

By Zach Wahls

BREAKING—BSA Executive Board Votes to End National Ban on Gay Adults

On 25, Jul 2015 | In scouting | By Zach Wahls

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 27, 2015
Press Contact: Zach Wahls
Phone: (319) 438-2246
E-mail: press@scoutsforequality.org

SCOUTS FOR EQUALITY HAILS HISTORIC VOTE BY BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA 

In historic vote, Boy Scouts of America ends national ban on gay adults—effective immediately.

Scouts for Equality calls on community members, former Scouts, and non-profit organizations to re-engage with Boy Scouts of America.

 WASHINGTON, D.C.— Scouts for Equality, the national organization leading the campaign to end discrimination in the Boy Scouts of America, praised today’s historic vote by the BSA’s National Executive Board to end the organization’s decades-old ban on gay adults.

“This vote marks the beginning of a new chapter for the Boy Scouts of America,” said Zach Wahls, the Executive Director of Scouts for Equality. “Tens of thousands of people came together because they wanted to build a better future for the Boy Scouts of America, and that future starts today. I couldn’t be more proud of the tireless work of our members, volunteers, and staff over these last three years. As of today, the Boy Scouts of America is an organization that is looking forward, not back.”

Scouts for Equality—a group of current and former Boy Scouts members—has led the charge in campaigning for an end to the Boy Scouts of America’s ban since 2012. In 2013, the BSA voted to end its ban on gay youth members, which many saw as a stepping-stone to full inclusion for the organization. Today, the work of this campaign was vindicated by an historic vote from the Boy Scouts of America.

“While we still have some reservations about individual units discriminating against gay adults, we couldn’t be more excited about the future of Scouting,” continued Wahls. “We look forward to collaborating with our supporters, progressive faith partners, allied non-profit organizations, and the Boy Scouts of America to ensure a fully inclusive Scouting movement.”

The resolution approved today ends the BSA’s decades-old ban on gay adults while reaffirming the First Amendment right of Boy Scout units chartered (i.e. legally sponsored) by religious organizations to select troop leaders in accordance with their religious principles. In effect, Boy Scout units sponsored by churches will have the right to continue discriminating against gay adults on a troop-by-troop basis. Boy Scout units sponsored by secular organizations will not be allowed to discriminate.

“We’re calling on gay Eagle Scouts, parents who are straight allies, non-profit organizations who support LGBT equality and anyone else who has walked away from the Boy Scouts to rejoin the fold,” continued Wahls. “Together, we can build a stronger, more inclusive Scouting movement.”

TIMELINE OF IMPORTANT EVENTS

Timeline of Scouts for Equality’s Campaign

April 2012 — Jennifer Tyrrell, a lesbian den mother from Ohio, is removed from her son’s Cub Scout unit because she is gay.

May 2012 — Zach Wahls, an LGBT rights advocate, Eagle Scout, and the son of a same-sex couple from Iowa known for his testimony before the Iowa legislature, delivers a Change.org petition started by Ms. Tyrrell to BSA leadership at their national meeting.

June 2012 Zach Wahls teams up with Jonathan Hillis, a youth member of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board, and other Eagle Scouts to launch Scouts for Equality.

July 2012 — BSA reaffirms its ban against gay adults following a two-year review of the policy.

Fall 2012 — Scouts for Equality successfully petitions major BSA sponsors Intel and UPS to suspend their funding until BSA ends its discrimination, and Ryan Andresen, a gay Boy Scout from California, is denied his Eagle Scout award because of his sexual orientation.

January 2013 — The Boy Scouts of America announces it will reconsider its ban on gay youth and schedules a vote for May 2013.

Spring 2013 — Scouts for Equality leads an unprecedented national effort, working with GLAAD, HRC, the Inclusive Scouting Network and others, to win the May vote.

May 2013 — The Boy Scouts of America’s National Council votes 61% to 39% to end the organization’s ban on gay youth.

January 2014 — The new membership policy formally takes effect, ending the BSA’s ban on gay youth but maintaining the ban on gay adults.

April 2014 — The Boy Scouts of America revokes the charter of Seattle Troop 98, which refused to discriminate against its gay Scoutmaster.

Fall 2014 — Scouts for Equality works with David Boies and Boies, Schiller, Flexner, LLP to craft a legal challenge to the Boy Scouts of America’s continued ban on gay adults.

September 2014 — The Boy Scouts of America denies employment to Yasmin Cassini, a lesbian woman from Colorado, because of her sexual orientation—which is illegal in the state of Colorado.

March 2014 — Yasmin Cassini files a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission, the prelude to legal action.

April 2015 The Greater New York Councils announce that they have hired Pascal Tessier, the nation’s first known openly gay Eagle Scout under the BSA’s new policy, to work at their summer camp in direct defiance of the BSA’s national ban. Later that month, the New York Attorney General’s office opens an investigation into Boy Scouts of America hiring practices across the state.

May 2015 — Amid mounting legal pressure, Boy Scouts of America President and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates declares the ban “unsustainable,” and calls for its end.

July 13, 2015 — The Boy Scouts of America announces that its National Executive Committee has unanimously voted to end the organization’s ban on gay adults. The resolution advances to the National Executive Board for final approval.

July 27, 2015 — Three years and two weeks after reaffirming its ban on gay members, the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board votes to end the organization’s decades-old national ban on gay adults, while affirming individual units’ ability to select leaders in line with its religious principles.

Scouts for Equality commends the decision and calls on gay Eagle Scouts, parents who are straight allies, non-profit organizations who support LGBT equality and anyone else who has walked away from the Boy Scouts to rejoin the movement.

About Scouts for Equality: Scouts for Equality is a national organization of Boy Scouts of America (BSA) members, former members, and community supporters that campaigns for an end to discrimination in the BSA. Scouts for Equality was founded in 2012 by straight Eagle Scouts. In the last three years, we have grown to more than 20,000 members—including 8,000 Eagle Scouts—have gathered more than 2.2 million petition signatures in support of ending the BSA’s ban on gay members, and successfully led the effort to end the BSA’s ban on both gay youth and adults.

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13

Jul
2015

In scouting

By Zach Wahls

Boy Scouts of America’s Executive Committee Unanimously Approves End to Ban on Gay Adults

On 13, Jul 2015 | In scouting | By Zach Wahls

Media Contact: (319) 438-2246 or press@scoutsforequality.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, the Boy Scouts of America announced that the National  Executive Committee unanimously approved a resolution allowing gay adults to serve as employees and volunteers.  A vote by the National Executive Board, the Boy Scouts’ governing body, is set for July 27th.

Based on the BSA’s documents, the change would:

  1. Eliminate the BSA’s across the board ban on openly gay or bisexual adults in scouting.
  2. Allow each individual troop or unit to determine its own policy regarding the eligibility of openly gay or bisexual scoutmasters or other adult leaders.
  3. Prohibit regional governing councils or non-Troop entities such as boy scouts camps from discriminating against employees and volunteers based on their sexual orientation.
  4. Allow previously removed leaders to reapply for their positions.

If ratified on Monday, July 27, the change will be effective immediately.

Following the announcement, Zach Wahls, an Eagle Scout and the Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, issued the following statement:

“Today’s announcement hopefully marks the beginning of the end of the Boy Scouts of America’s decades-old ban on gay leaders and parents like my two moms. In two weeks, the BSA’s national executive board will vote to ratify a resolution that has already been unanimously adopted by their executive committee.

“For decades, the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults has stood as a towering example of explicit, institutional homophobia in one of America’s most important and recognizable civic organizations. While this policy change is not perfect—BSA’s religious chartering partners will be allowed to continue to discriminate against gay adults—it is difficult to overstate the importance of today’s announcement.

“The BSA has explicitly cited the work of Scouts for Equality members Pascal Tessier, an openly gay Eagle Scout working at a Boy Scouts summer camp in New York state, Yasmin Cassini, a lesbian woman from Colorado who was denied employment on the basis of her sexual orientation, and Brian Peffly, an openly gay Eagle Scout who until recently served as an assistant Scoutmaster in central Ohio. I could not be more proud of, or grateful for, the courage, strength, and dedication to the values of Scouting as demonstrated by Pascal, Yasmin, and Brian.”

The relevant portions of proposed resolution reads as follows (emphasis added). The full resolution can be downloaded here:

Regarding Employees and Non-unit Volunteers

[…]

Adult leaders in the programs of the Boy Scouts of America must (a) subscribe to and abide by the values expressed in the Scout Oath and Scout Law, (b) subscribe to and abide by the precepts of the Declaration of Religious Principle, and (c) demonstrate at all times behavior that exemplifies the highest level of good conduct and respect for others and that is consistent with Scouting’s values and codes of conduct.

No adult applicant for registration as an employee or non-unit-serving volunteer, who otherwise meets the requirements of the Boy Scouts of America, may be denied registration on the basis of sexual orientation.

Regarding Religiously Affiliated Troops and Units

[…]

The Boy Scouts of America affirms the right of each chartering organization to reach its own religious and moral conclusions about the specific meaning and application of these values. The Boy Scouts of America further affirms the right of each chartering organization to select adult leaders who support those conclusions in word and deed and who will best inculcate the organization’s values through the Scouting program.

[…]

From the BSA’s frequently asked questions:

Can a gay adult be a Scoutmaster or unit leader?

Yes. If selected by the chartered organization, an otherwise qualified and eligible gay adult is eligible to serve as a unit leader.

21

May
2015

In scouting

By Zach Wahls

Boy Scouts President Robert Gates Calls for End to BSA’s National Ban on Gay Adults

On 21, May 2015 | In scouting | By Zach Wahls

Dr. Robert Gates: “The Status Quo in Our Movement’s Membership Standards Cannot Be Sustained.”

Dr. Robert Gates: Boy Scouts Will Not Revoke Charters of Boy Scout Chapters That Do Not Enforce Ban on Gay Adults

Two Resolutions Concerning “Membership Standards” Referred to Executive Committee of BSA Executive Board for Further Review

Washington, D.C.—Today, Dr. Robert Gates, President of the Boy Scouts of America, called on the organization to end its ban on gay adults, stating that the “status quo in our movement’s membership standards cannot be sustained,” in prepared remarks.

Dr. Gates went on to say that the BSA would not revoke the charters of Boy Scouts Councils that defied the organization’s ban on gay adults, explicitly mentioning the Denver Area Council and the Greater New York Council.

“This is another step forward for the Boy Scouts of America,” said Scouts for Equality executive director Zach Wahls. “I’m proud to see Dr. Gates chartering a course towards full equality in the BSA. While our work won’t be done until we see a full end to their ban on gay adults once and for all, today’s decision moves the Boy Scouts in that direction.”

Scouts for Equality has also confirmed that the BSA Resolutions Committee has referred two proposed resolutions requesting changes to the membership standards pertaining to adult gay leaders to the BSA’s Executive Committee, a standing leadership committee within the BSA’s Executive Board, the organization’s main governing body.

The BSA Resolutions Committee received 14 resolutions overall, and referred four to the Executive Committee, including two on membership standards. There are no votes on any resolutions at the business meeting this year.

“Dr. Gates has built his reputation on straight talk, and I’m glad he’s fully endorsing a re-evaluation of the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay adults,” continued Wahls. “It seems like the Boy Scouts will continue an internal dialogue about the subject and that a full vote within the next year or two is imminent.”

27

Apr
2015

In scouting

By Zach Wahls

Thanks for the favorite, Cub Scouts!

On 27, Apr 2015 | In scouting | By Zach Wahls

From Twitter:

shoutout

That was cool! Appreciate the encouragement, Cub Scouts!

02

Apr
2015

In Campaign News
In the Press

By Zach Wahls

Scouts for Equality on the hiring of Pascal Tessier by New York Boy Scouts

On 02, Apr 2015 | In Campaign News, In the Press | By Zach Wahls

Today, as Chris Geidner at BuzzFeed News is reporting, the Greater New York Area Councils of the Boy Scouts of America confirmed that it has hired Pascal Tessier, an openly gay adult Eagle Scout and member of Scouts for Equality. The announcement suggests that the Boy Scouts of America is not enforcing its policy of prohibiting adult gay leaders from employment. In light of this, Zach Wahls, Executive Director of Scouts for Equality, issued the following statement:

This is a watershed moment. For the first time in the history of the Boy Scouts, an openly gay adult will join their ranks as a camp counselor. Pascal Tessier was the first out gay scout, and now it appears that he will also be the first out gay leader.

But if the Boy Scouts of America National Council steps in to force the Greater New York Councils to rescind their offer to hire Pascal, it will represent a boldfaced example of employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which is illegal in New York State.

As the controversy swirling in Indiana, Arkansas, and elsewhere demonstrates, Americans are no longer willing to tolerate discrimination based on sexual orientation. We affirm the inherent worth and dignity of all people, and we expect our leaders–and future leaders–to do the same.

We are proud to see such an important Boy Scout council standing up for the full inclusion of gay members and affirming that the values and principles of scouting are important to all people regardless of sexual orientation or age. We are proud of them for living up to the full promise of Scouting. And we’re proud to be working with Pascal as he stands up for his rights as protected by law.

Please support our work by visiting: https://www.scoutsforequality.org/donate

23

Feb
2015

In Campaign Events

By Justin Paul Wilson

Scouts for Equality Spring Gathering 2015

On 23, Feb 2015 | In Campaign Events | By Justin Paul Wilson

I’m thrilled to announce that this April, Scouts for Equality will be hosting our first-ever National Gathering for supporters of inclusive Scouting.

The gathering will take place on the weekend of Friday April 17 – Sunday April 19, in the Denver, Colorado metro area. Our registration is open, and you can sign up here on EventBrite.The weekend will be a fantastic opportunity for you to meet some of the key leaders of the movement, network with other like-minded individuals, and learn a lot about how you can effectively advocate for equality in the BSA. We’ll have educational sessions, working groups, featured speakers, and built-in recreation time.

YMCA of the RockiesYMCA of the Rockies

The venue–YMCA of the Rockies–will take care of all our food, lodging, and meeting space, and has plenty of recreation opportunities. Rooms are very similar to what you would find at a hotel. They feature two queen beds and a single floor futon mattress (maximum of 5 people per room), a private bath, free wireless internet, and linens and towels are included. All meals are provided in cafeteria dining rooms in buffet style.
On top of all this, it’s very affordable! For someone that is sharing a room with two other people, the total cost will be ~$200 plus travel expenses – and again, that covers the cost of your food, lodging, and the conference! For those that live locally, we also offer a “conference only, no lodging or meals” option for $125.

We’d really love to have you there. Hope to see you in Colorado.Yours in Inclusive Scouting,

Zacharia Wahls
Eagle Scout ’07
Executive Director