Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Scout leaders laud BSA ruling, but others still skeptical
by Matt Simonette
2015-08-05

This article shared 3076 times since Wed Aug 5, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Many within the Boy Scouts of America ( BSA ) are excited to see the national organization lift its ban against gay troop leaders, but some rights-advocates say that BSA needs to require troops under the auspices of religious organizations—to whom the rule does not apply—to accept that requirement as well.

BSA voted, on July 27, to change the rule. It had already voted in 2013 to accept gay scouts within its ranks.

Among those pleased to see the 2015 change implemented were officials from the Northeast Illinois Council ( NEIC ) of the BSA, who had tried on three occasions to put through resolutions at the national level, according to NEIC Immediate Past-President Patrick Heneghan, who had a large part in spearheading the proposals. He said discussions began within the council—which covers the territory north from the Chicago-Evanston border to the Illinois-Wisconsin border, and heads west about 15-20 miles from Lake Michigan—in 2012.

"Many people were vocal about stepping up and making our opinions known. There wasn't any question about what would be the collective opinion of the board," Heneghan said. "...Once it became known that scouting was reevaluating its opinion on gay people, both youth and adults, it [became] the launch of our involvement."

The council presented a resolution in 2013 to the national board. "By then, there were many voices presenting a wide array of views, including those advocating for the status quo, many advocating for change, some more vocal than others on both sides of that spectrum. We were among the more vocal ones. Many of our board members physically appeared at the annual meeting in 2013 and, in open mikes, expressed the view articulated in our resolution."

That year the national board relaxed the restrictions on gay youth, which Heneghan characterized as a "small step." But he said NEIC members were excited to see that former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who oversaw the dismantling of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," was named BSA's president.

"I had known for a number of years that he's a guy with enormous credibility in all quarters within scouting," Heneghan said. Another resolution, this one concentrating on adult members, was submitted in 2014. It was tabled, and Gates said publicly that he would not be revisiting the issue.

"That was very disappointing and deflating for many of us," added Heneghan.

But in May, 2015, Gates gave a speech wherein he said it just might finally be the right time, foreshadowing the vote a few months later. He first spoke of multiple legal challenges to the ban, then added that BSA cannot "ignore the social, political and juridical changes taking place at a pace over this past year that no one anticipated. I remind you of the recent debates we have seen in places like Indiana and Arkansas over discrimination based on sexual orientation, not to mention the [then-] impending U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer on gay marriage. …We must deal with the world as it is, not as we might wish it to be. The status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained."

Heneghan said that the original ban could be attributed to a religious view of homosexuality that was not even universal among churches. His own sons are members of a troop overseen by a church that's part of the United Church of Christ, which has long been accepting of the LGBT community, for example. "It's a religious debate. Fast forward to the aftermath of the decision, and what's in the papers? It's about the religious consequences to this decision and the uncertainty about what these organizations will do."

Shortly after the July 27 vote, Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) officials called for a more universal ban on discrimination by BSA in a statement: "Today's vote by the Boy Scouts of America to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual adults to work and volunteer is a welcome step toward erasing a stain on this important organization," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin. "But including an exemption for troops sponsored by religious organizations undermines and diminishes the historic nature of today's decision. Discrimination should have no place in the Boy Scouts, period.

"BSA officials should now demonstrate true leadership and begin the process of considering a full national policy of inclusion that does not allow discrimination against anyone because of who they are," Griffin added.

Writer and activist Peter McGraith, who was half of the first same-sex couple to be married in the United Kingdom, and whose son is a BSA member in the organization's Transatlantic Council, was skeptical of the resolution, since so much power is left in the hands of church-based councils. He said the new rule was missed opportunity for a "difficult but cathartic debate that needs to happen."

Suggesting that BSA was mostly concerned about staving off legal issues than an outright ban on discrimination, McGraith added, "The leadership has pandered for so long to religious groups. It has to accept that some groups want to leave."

He maintained that the resolution "has been about [BSA] holding control of leaderships standards while appearing to be in keeping with standards of the outside world. … Religion does not own the virtues that scouting is about, and gay men and lesbians are not devoid of the those values."

One aspect of the new rule McGraith found especially troubling was that BSA would legally indemnify troops that kept the ban in place, effectively putting the organization on the hook for the court costs. But he said he was not pessimistic that the ban couldn't be completely overturned. "Even those who engineered this vote will be made to see that this is only a stopgap. BSA has to face down the antigay chartered organizations."

Heneghan, for his part, said he was "excited at the prospect that new units could be formed. They might be formed by LGBT community centers or interest groups, who have members who say, 'You know what? I was a part of the program [when younger] and I loved it, and I regret that I couldn't be part of the program all these years.' … That would be awesome, because they'd be entitled to be a safe and secure chartered organization, as long as they fulfill the qualifications of any scout leader in any chartered organization."


This article shared 3076 times since Wed Aug 5, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

NATIONAL Foster-parent case, stars speak out, Texas youth, 'Queer Eye,' HIV
2021-10-17
Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Lambda Legal, together with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along ...


Gay News

Donations needed for LGBTQ+-affirming spiritual leader's recovery
2021-10-12
In July, Sofia G. Sarabia—an activist and community leader who provided spiritual counseling to LGBTQ+ youth and undocumented immigrants—suffered an unexpected stroke that injured her brain and left her immobile and unable to speak or eat. ...


Gay News

HRC marks National Coming Out Day with new resource for youth
2021-10-11
On Oct. 11, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is commemorating the 33rd annual National Coming Out Day (NCOD) by announcing the release of a new resource, "Online Communities and LGBTQ+ Youth." "National Coming Out Day exists ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Victory Institute, LGBTQ books, youth items, NASA, LGBTQ Nation
2021-10-10
LGBTQ Victory Institute and nine additional candidate-training organizations announced a partnership with Snap Inc., the parent company of Snapchat, to provide a native-to-mobile tool to encourage young people to run for office, a press release noted. ...


Gay News

Texans protest anti-trans youth measures at capitol in Austin
2021-10-03
GLAAD and Equality Texas issued a release highlighting a week of protest at the Texas state capitol in Austin—where measures targeting transgender children are being considered during the legislature's third special session of the year. Three ...


Gay News

Crystal Lake's Raue Center for the Arts opens new school
2021-09-27
On its 20th anniversary, the Crystal Lake, Illinois-based nonprofit organization Raue Center for the Arts has launched a new school. Raue Center School for the Arts (RCSA) will provide youth and adult classes in a wide ...


Gay News

Indiana students sue over gay-straight club's alleged treatment
2021-09-24
In Pendleton, Indiana, a group of Pendleton Heights High School students has filed a lawsuit against the school and South Madison Community School Corporation over allegations that the school has been treating its Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) ...


Gay News

OPALGA+ Scholarship Gala taking place Oct. 23
2021-09-21
The 2021 OPALGA+ (Oak Park Area Lesbian & Gay Association+) Scholarship Gala will take place Saturday, Oct. 23, at Nineteenth Century Club, 178 Forest Ave., Oak Park. Cocktails will begin at 6 p.m., with the program/dinner ...


Gay News

[UPDATE] Lisle school offers job to lacrosse coach in same-sex marriage
2021-09-21
The administration at Lisle’s Benet Academy, a west suburban Catholic school, has reversed course and offered a job to a woman in a same-sex marriage after initially rescinding the offer, The Chicago Tribune reported. ...


Gay News

Students urged to apply for Musical Theatre Awards
2021-09-14
Broadway in Chicago is inviting high schools across Illinois to participate in the 11th Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. These awards celebrate excellence in high school theater throughout the state. Beginning Thursday, Sept. 16, ...


Gay News

Virginia school district settles with Gavin Grimm
2021-08-28
A Virginia school district that discriminated against a transgender individual by making him go to the bathroom in a converted supply closet will have to pay $1.3 million in attorney's fees and other costs accrued over ...


Gay News

Report features eight Illinois child-welfare agencies working with HRC Foundation
2021-08-26
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation, the educational arm of the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, released a new report ...


Gay News

Campus Pride names one Illinois school to 'Best of the Best' list
2021-08-26
Campus Pride chose 30 schools this year for the 2021 Best of the Best LGBTQ-Friendly Colleges & Universities List. This list is based on the campuses overall ratings on the Campus Pride Index and specific LGBTQ-inclusive ...


Gay News

Indiana school district wrestles with Pride flag issue
2021-08-21
A Pride flag hanging in a middle-school classroom has caused an issue that could give rise to a new policy in Indiana's Bluffton-Harrison Metropolitan School District, WANE.com reported. District Superintendent Dr. Brad Yates wrote in a ...


Gay News

Pritzker signs the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act
2021-08-21
--From a press release - On Friday, Governor JB Pritzker signed the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act, which creates age-appropriate learning standards for public schools that decide to teach comprehensive personal health and safety ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 

Sponsor


Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.