US: Boy Scouts troop forced by regional council to remove anti-discrimination statement

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A Boy Scout troop has been made by its governing regional council to remove an anti-discrimination policy published last week, which contradicts the national policy banning gay members, volunteers and staff.

The Boy Scouts of America’s 422 troop, of Cloverly in the state of Maryland, last week announced that it was to adopt a non-discrimination policy, which was in conflict with the BSA’s national anti-gay policy.

In July 2012, after a two year review, the Boy Scouts of America announced it would retain its ban on gay members, volunteers and staff.

Last week the troop had “anonymously voted and overwhelmingly approved” to adopt a non-discrimination policy, which declared that the group would not discriminate “against any individual or family based on race, religion, national origin or sexual orientation.”

The pack had also posted an online poll requesting that families to vote on whether or not to publish the statement.

Then, on Saturday, another statement appeared on the troop’s website, saying they had been made to remove the policy, in order to retain their BSA charter, reports the Huffington Post. 

It read: “Due to pressure from the National Capital Area Council, Pack 442 is being forced to remove its Non-Discrimination statement posted below in order to keep our Charter (up at end of Jan). Please feel free to send feedback to the following NCAC Leaders at 301-530-9360: Sarah Pelter, Director of Field Services; Les Baron, Scout Executive.”

Reports last week reports from Mother Jones claimed that the executive of the BSA, Les Baron, had said the 442 troop would”not be recognized as an organisation” if it upholds such a policy.

GLAAD President, Herndon Graddick, released a statement commenting on the reported threats from the BSA to remove the 442 charter.

He said: “To think that the Boy Scouts would rather cast out elementary school children than accept a parent-approved policy allowing gay children and parents to participate is just unconscionable,

“This despicable act of bullying and intimidation is yet another reminder that the BSA is out of touch with its members and the American public at large.”

Verizon, a US communications company, has been one of the top donors to the BSA in recent years, but a new petition launched last week urged bosses to cease the funding because of the BSA policy.

The Boy Scouts have already lost funding from several large corporate donors, including UPS, back in November, who had given over $150,000 (£95,000), Intel, another of the scouts’ largest donors, ceased funding back in September, and the Merck Foundation in December. 

Two weeks ago, gay teenager Ryan Andresen received his final decision to say that he had been denied the highest Boy Scouts honour, the Eagle Scout badge.

Last week, a synagogue in California became the latest in a list of religious groups to reject the Boy Scouts of America’s policy, described as “damaging”.

A father of two from Brooklyn, New York, recently started his own Boy Scouts troop, inclusive of gay members, and girls, to allow his son to be a member without having to accept the Boy Scouts of America’s anti-gay policy.