Watch Weathervane Mitt express his personal opposition to the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy
before he sets the Wayback Machine to 1994 and #retroactively changes history.
On Tuesday, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) aggressively reaffirmed their commitment to keep their ban on both gay members and leadership. In a press release they said the policy "remains in the best interest of Scouting and that there will be no further action taken on the resolution." Rumors had circulated recently that the board may revisit the current policy via board vote next year.
The statement was at once surprising and, of course, not so much. Unsurprising because it was just a restatement of the current policy, one you'd expect by an organization whose hierarchy is heavy with Christian fundamentalists, Catholics and Mormons.
Still, there had been some cause for optimism, as in recent months, national Boy Scouts board members Ernst & Young's James Turley and AT&T's Randall Stephenson had spoken publicly to the press about their personal opposition and desire to work for change.
The BSA has been under rather intense pressure of late. In April, they suffered a rather public embarrassment when The James Beard Foundation Executive Director Susan Ungaro returned an award from the Boy Scouts saying "accepting the Distinguished Citizen Award implied I support their anti-gay policy, which I absolutely do not."
The ousting of a popular Scout Leader Jennifer Tyrrell has sparked a national media tour, where the Ohio mom has proven herself an excellent spokesperson for the movement. Undaunted by the announcement, Tyrrell delivered Change petition to BSA headquarters on Wednesday with over 300,000 signatories asking BSA to change their policy. Her request denied, tears in her eyes, she told the local NBC affiliate (video above), "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere, I'm staying until I'm included."
Having learned that the resolution to end its policy of discrimination actually stood a chance of working its way through the BSA's executive board, the BSA dropped the hammer, trying to crush this grassroots movement to help the Boy Scouts become more inclusive and accepting.Wahls, a former Eagle Scout, will attend the 100th anniversary of the Eagle Scouts at the National Order of the Arrow Conference July 30 through Aug. 4 "to rally current scouts and scout leaders to support an end to the antigay ban."
In their eyes, this issue is now resolved and the book is closed. Indeed, they've even stopped answering calls from Fox News.
Fact is, the movement to end the BSA?s antigay policy is ramping up, and is poised to be stronger than ever.
The BSA press release says:
This decision follows a nearly two-year-long examination, started in 2010, of the policy commissioned by the Chief Scout Executive and national president. Under their leadership, the BSA convened a special committee of volunteers and professional leaders to evaluate whether the policy continued to be in the best interest of the organization.This claim of an extensive secret two-year study and secret committee has been met with skepticism by many. Boy Scouts of America spokesman Deron Smith told Think Progress the secret committee's secret report would remain secret and never disclosed to the public. Nor would he name any of the 11 people reported to have served on the committee. David Badash of the New Civil Rights Movement blog experienced similar stonewalling when he pressed the Boy Scouts for more information on the study.
Notorious homophobe, hate group leader and Romney campaign human resources consultant?American Family Association's Bryan Fischer?took to the airways on Wednesday to crow "the head of the Boy Scouts" had called him to assure him there'd be no change.
Bil Browning, writing at the Bilerico Project, is less diplomatic about expressing his skepticism about the secret two-year study and committee. He says: "I'm calling bullshit."
I don't believe they made a worthwhile effort to actually decide what's best for all children and everyone involved in scouting. They may have formed this "secret committee," but I'd posit they knew the outcome before they held their first meeting.The usual suspects cheered, like the
You don't take your need to discriminate all the way to the Supreme Court just to throw it out the window a few years later. They've dug themselves into this position and they're just fortifying their position as their opposition grows stronger. They're looking for a way to save face and are able to shrug off responsibility for their reprehensible actions by blaming a group of unnamed individuals for making the decision.
So proud that the BSA, a Christian based organization, didn't cave in! fb.me/1brtUEsZ4? 1milmoms (@1milmoms) July 17, 2012
But the declaration has not been met with much enthusiasm outside the religious right. The New York Times "Room for Debate" section now hosts seven response essays by people of note. Only the one penned by Bob Mazzuca and Wayne Perry of the Boy Scouts' executive council offers a defensive support for continuing the policy. The rest offer varying degrees of disappointment and condemnation.
My take? It's true, an animal is most dangerous when it is deeply wounded. And it does seem reasonably and entirely possible BSA recognized the public conversation was getting a little too heated, they sought to make a definitive statement to close out the subject.
But Wahls and others aren't taking it lying down, continuing to demand that the Boy Scouts of America allow the resolution to allow openly gay scouts and leaders to come to a vote at the next BSA convention, in May of 2013 (petition here).
(Continue reading below the fold.)