The Boy Scouts of America announced today that they'd formed a secret committee back in 2010 to study whether or not to change their ban on gay scouts and leaders. The committee suggested the group keep their current discriminatory policy.
I'm calling bullshit. I don't believe them. Their story has too many holes in it to be remotely believable. This is a spin put in place to cover their ass at the recent blowback they've been getting as opinions change on gays and lesbians. There's more holes in their statements than a block of Swiss cheese.
The Scouts' national spokesman, Deron Smith, told The Associated Press that an 11-member special committee, formed discreetly by top Scout leaders in 2010, came to the conclusion that the exclusion policy "is absolutely the best policy" for the 112-year-old organization.
Smith said the committee, comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers, was unanimous in its conclusion -- preserving a long-standing policy that was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and has remained controversial ever since.
The Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuca, contended that most Scout families support the policy, which applies to both adult leaders and Scouts.
"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," Mazzuca said. "We fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."
The Scouts did not identify the members of the special committee that studied the issue, but said in a statement that they represented "a diversity of perspectives and opinions."
"The review included forthright and candid conversation and extensive research and evaluations -- both from within Scouting and from outside of the organization," the statement said.
Let's just follow this logic for a minute... after the break.
First of all, anything decided by a secret committee isn't worth believing. If they truly think this is the best policy, why not release the names of the people who think so? Is it because the people involved don't want others to know they support discrimination? What's the reason for the secrecy?
Second, they say this secret committee was "comprised of professional scout executives and adult volunteers" and included "a diversity of perspectives and opinions." They also say the vote was unanimous.
Do you know any supporter of LGBT rights who would decide that banning an entire group of people from an organization is a good idea? The majority of Americans support LGBT rights now. If that group included "diversity," I'm doubtful that vote would be unanimous. It just doesn't ring true.
Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association is touting that his organization - designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center - was consulted. I'd imagine an anti-gay group would be in favor of discrimination. But did the Scouts contact GLAAD? HRC? Courage Campaign? Any LGBT organization? If you're only contacting groups known to hate gays and lesbians, that's hardly a "diversity of perspectives." That's a circle jerk.
And lastly, they insist that the majority of the families involved in scouting supports the current policy. How do they know that? Did they do a survey for their secret committee? It's going to be a lot harder to hide a secret committee if they're polling their members. And since not all members support the policy and are actively trying to overturn it, don't you think they'd have spilled the beans on the the polling?
And when they were consulting with these unknown entities outside of scouting, did they contact any health professionals that could have unequivocally told them that there is no danger to children from being around LGBT people? All the major medical groups support full LGBT equality and regularly smack down the bogus claims made by Fischer and his ilk. It's incredibly hard to believe they'd counsel the BSA to reinforce the idea that some children are okay while others are damaged beyond repair and should be ostracized from the others.
So 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.
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.
Two high profile board members have already announced their opposition to the policy. Both of them are corporate bigwigs and their companies donate a ton of cash to the group. These men should resign immediately - and take their corporate cash and fundraising abilities with them.
If they truly believe that scouting is wrong, they shouldn't hide behind excuses like AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson is doing by allowing his company to put out a statement like AT&T did. "We don't agree with every policy of every organization we support, nor would we expect them to agree with us on everything," the company said. "Our belief is that change at any organization must come from within to be successful and sustainable."
Stephenson, by the way, will become the new president of the BSA's national board in 2014. What better way to show displeasure with this announcement than to resign in protest as Steven Spielberg did in 2001?
Until the BSA releases the names of the people on the committee and who they consulted, I'll continue to think this is just a circle jerk of highest proportions. How about you? Do you believe them?