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Gays in Troop Would Be OK, Scoutmaster Says

Boy Scouts of America expected to make decision that could overturn policy on sexual orientation restriction this week.

For more than 100 years, the inclusion of openly gay males to the Boy Scouts of America has been banned. This week, however, a single vote may change that.

It is believed the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) National Board will make a decision this week, as early as Wednesday, either reinforcing its current policy or lifting the ban on homosexuals.

If the policy is overturned, it would remove the ban as a national policy, but leave the decision of whether or not to include openly gay males to each local chapter.

For one Long Valley troop, the change would actually be welcomed.

“[Allowing homosexuals to join Scouts] Is not an issue,” said Troop 36 Scoutmaster Jay DeBoey. “It’s not something we concern ourselves with. [Sexual orientation] is not what Scouts is about.”

DeBoey, now in his second year as the troop’s Scoutmaster, said while he was not speaking on behalf of the troop’s members or their parents, he believed many of the participating families were on the same page when it came to the topic.

He also said scoutmasters, by and large, are usually in line with doing what the national council asks of them. So if the board overturns the policy, Troop 36 would have no problem being in line with the inclusion policy, DeBoey said.

“We try hard to leave politics aside,” DeBoey said about his discussions with members of the troop. “But the thought (within the troop) is wider inclusion is better.”

For Troop 36, the focus has always been and always will be about teaching leadership and life skills, DeBoey said.

In a CBS News segment prior to Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday, President Barack Obama said he believed the BSA should overturn the policy and become fully inclusive.

In July 2012, BSA reiterated its stance on not being fully-inclusive by saying “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”

Where do you stand? What do you think the BSA should do at the national level?

Maria February 06, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Thomas...please understand the difference... A pedophile is a person 16 years of age or older who is primarily or exclusively sexually attracted to children who have not begun puberty. Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction or sexual activity between members of the same sex or gender. They are NOT the same thing.
John Neubeck February 06, 2013 at 06:08 PM
Thank you Jay for your comments. As an Assistant Scout Master in Troop 36, I fully support Jay's position and welcome all boys who want to join Scouts and learn to be better citizens. The values and skills the Boy Scouts imbue are something that EVERYONE can learn from and will carry with them for the rest of their lives. The one thing I am intolerant of is intolerance! Sincerely, John Neubeck Asst. Scout Master Troop 36
Jason Koestenblatt (Editor) February 06, 2013 at 06:13 PM
Thank you for the comments everyone. I'm holding back some that I feel are attacks on individuals while being aware of trying not to censure anyone. So, going forward, please keep the attacks, such as "simple-minded" and "idiot" and so on out of your comment. Do not aim at each other. Discuss the issue at hand, stay on-topic, and treat each other fairly, as this is a very contentious issue. Thank you.
Not Domino February 06, 2013 at 06:33 PM
Thomas, you are saying that you do not support a special category to grant additional rights to people who want to be identified by their behavior. I agree with you there. However you DO want to take away some rights from those same people whom YOU choose to identify by their "behavior" i.e. their sexual preference. You can't have it both ways, Thomas.. Secondly, your logic in this statement is flawed: "I do not believe that you had any homosexual friends, because if you did, they would be attracted to you, which is a problem for most people if they are not homosexuals." Aside from the fact that you are labeling me as one of "most people", which is rather presumptuous of you, that statement is the logical equivalent of saying: "I do not believe that married heterosexuals can have any heterosexual friends of the opposite sex, because if they did, they would be attracted to one another, which is a problem for most people who are married." In other words, you automatically assume that all gay men will be attracted to me, and will be unable to hide their affection. Granted, I am pretty good looking (if I do say so myself.) But do you really believe that ALL gay men are attracted to ALL men? By the same logic, I guess you must also believe that ALL heterosexual women in the world are attracted to YOU then, is that right? I'd love to introduce you to some of my gay friends to try and "convert" you into being more accepting, but I strongly suspect that it wouldn't help.
Pamela Porter February 06, 2013 at 06:50 PM
Thank you for playing, Thomas...we have some lovely parting gifts. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/eaglescouts.asp
Pat W. February 06, 2013 at 07:12 PM
...except for when he does. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/eaglescouts.asp
Mark Lipinski February 06, 2013 at 07:14 PM
Thomas Lotito, it might be time to stop drinking the bigot Kool Aid and exhibiting your profound ignorance (at least publicly -- what you do in your own bedroom is your business). Your twisted views on your gay neighbors,fellow Americans and tax payers, however comfortable you are in sharing them with Long Valley and beyond, are both prehistoric and embarrassing (although I'd bet my bottom dollar that it doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of your pathology) . I applaud Mr. DeBoey. He is not only doing the right thing, his inclusiveness is leading future American adults by an exemplary example and will be listed on the correct side of history -- in both our town and our country.
Jersey February 06, 2013 at 07:49 PM
I am saddened to see that the BSA has decided to postpone the vote on this issue. Personally, I will have a hard time encouraging my sons to join an organization with a stated policy of discrimination - it runs contrary to the value system I'm teaching them. It is time that the Boy Scouts do the right thing. I applaud Mr. DeBoey. Asserting that gays are more likely to molest children is absurd, and importantly, contrary to studies on the issue. There is no correlation between pedophilia and homosexuality. That is a known fact. The person who believes otherwise is the person who would have believed the propaganda that the brains of Jews were abnormally small back in Nazi Germany. Blind, ignorant belief in that which is false but supports what you want to believe. Pathetic.
deb knobelman February 06, 2013 at 07:49 PM
there's always some idiot who thinks gay=pedophile. what's next, the "worldwide jewish conspiracy"?
Comfortably Numb February 06, 2013 at 08:14 PM
wait a minute!!!!! Hookermans comment actually sounds reasonable. This must be the "fake hookerman"
Hookerman February 06, 2013 at 08:14 PM
To dispel any notion that sexual orientation is linked to pedophilia, one has to look no farther than Jerry Sandusky... a married heterosexual. Or how about Phillip Garrido, another married heterosexual who kidnapped and raped Jaycee Dugard when she was only 11. Just as everything else in life, evil people come in all shapes, sizes, genders, races and sexual orientations.
mrwilson February 06, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Maybe I'm missing a trick here, but I think this misses the point. This was never really about barring 6 year old gay kids, I remember it being over openly gay scoutmasters. And Mr. DeBooey, despite all the attaboys, is just saying he'll go along with the national BSA decision. If he wants to be a crusader, go AGAINST their currently bigoted policy. Name a gay assistant scoutmaster, or do something overtly tolerant like a well-publicized joint activity with the Gay Straight Alliance group at West Morris Central. How about a Patch-sponsored BSA/GSA roundtable. Here is their webpage with the contact coordinator: http://central.wmrhsd.org/faculty_site/facultyPage.asp?pageID=4176&facultyID=293 I'm sure Jason would love the accompanying Pulitzer for the coverage.
deb knobelman February 06, 2013 at 09:01 PM
what does the church have to do with it? last time i looked, you didn't need to be a christian to be a scout...
Thomas Lotito February 06, 2013 at 09:42 PM
Pamela, that SNOPES attribution is a LIE. My friend has been a Scout leader for over 30 years. As of Today Obama has yet to sign an Eagle Scout certificate.
Reality Chuck February 06, 2013 at 10:17 PM
There are more documented and abbhorant acts by Catholic Priests then gay scout masters abusing the trust of children and parents.....if that is what the "fear" is about...now compare that with all the other "proper" heterosexual abuses of teacher/student, parent/child, neighbor, caregiver.....etc...And a good gay Scout Master's sexaully is equally meaningless to me as a heterosexual one.
Thomas Lotito February 07, 2013 at 02:51 AM
Mark Lipinski, the rudimentary principles of American liberty and freedom, embraced by citizens for centuries, is to worship God in spirit and in truth. Although I don't agree with your opinion, it would serve you well if you were a little more tolerant of the founding principles of our nation.
mommy1 February 07, 2013 at 03:06 AM
I for one am glad they are throwing this policy to the wind. I had a hard time deciding if I was going to let me son join an organization that discriminated against certain groups. I never understood it really anyway, as others have pointed out, many boys would not know they were gay until they were almost done with the boy scouts:) And homosexuals are not pedophiles. They let mothers be den leaders, what if we had one of those crazy cougar love messes like that teacher and that young boy? kids of all orientations see each other naked in the locker room anyway so what does it matter...let them be kids
Pamela Porter February 07, 2013 at 12:32 PM
Thomas: Here's a Wayback link to the letter than appeared on the Greater Alabama Boy Scouts of America web site regarding this issue: http://web.archive.org/web/20101211195645/http://1bsa.org/article.php?cn=275&account= You may have to remove the tin foil from your Stetson, but you should be able to see that your friend is incorrect.
Thomas Lotito February 07, 2013 at 01:16 PM
Domino, by not allowing homosexuals into the boy scouts, no one is loosing any rights. It is not morally right to to change an organization for a minority of individuals who want to be identified by their sexual proclivities, especially when it involves children. I have homosexual clients and I must say some of them are very nice people. But I would not change all of society's institutions and give them a special status in order to please a few homosexual activists.
Thomas Lotito February 07, 2013 at 01:21 PM
Kevin, according to my friend who is a scout master, he said Obama has yet to sign an Eagle Scout certificate. Perhaps we can look further into this matter. I'll see him next week and I'll ask him if I can look at the certificates. In the mean time, maybe Jason could look into it and ask his contacts.
Thomas Lotito February 07, 2013 at 02:50 PM
Pamela, my friend runs the scout troop, the Eagle Scout certificates had to be reprinted. I saw them. BTW, your link is broken. Maybe you ought to check it out first hand rather than worry about stetson hats, which are classy, and tinfoil is not.
Maria February 07, 2013 at 03:38 PM
Thanks for sharing the link mrwilson. My kids are just starting out in the LV school system and it is wonderful to see there is a group like this in the HS.
Hookerman February 07, 2013 at 04:49 PM
Tom, go to google images, and target; “Eagle Scout certificates signed by Obama”. You can view actual examples. Are you going to now tell us that these are forgeries???
tangled February 07, 2013 at 08:00 PM
I think the reason that this is so flammable an issue is that many people don't understand whether sexual preferences are nature or nurture. Some people say they know one way or the other, but we also know people who are bi or whose preferences have changed and that muddies it. If you believe that sexual preference may be nurture, to some degree, than the tolerance or the placement of an openly gay scoutleader in a leadership role for your young boy hits at a very deep and ingrained value -- the propagation of your genes. It is a biologically wired imperative to protect your children from harm -- so they can procreate. While recently science and society may have opened answers to gay couples procreating, the biases to raise your kids to be heterosexual extenders of your DNA has been wired in there since we were chimps. Again, the precedent is best established by considering the extreme scenario, which, of course, is best illustrated by the distinguished academic work in the South Park episode where Gay Al gets kicked out as a Scout leader. To echo the above, it is nice to say that this local scoutleader would "go along with" tolerance.....but why is he a part of an intolerant organization then now?
Not Domino February 07, 2013 at 08:33 PM
Yes, but that was hundreds of years ago, at a time when intelligent people still believed there was a 'god'. Thanks to advances in modern science, we know better now. I'm sure there were many things said at one time that were entirely based on the principle that the earth is flat, too. How times change.
tangled February 07, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Assistant Scoutmaster Neubeck, if you are intolerant of intolerance why did you join what you clearly believe is an intolerant organization? If that is truly your feeling, than why would you possibly keep your *KIDS* in such a program? It isn't like you couldn't have known, their position has been in the headlines for many years and they have stuck to it. At least one board member quit in the past year over it: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/30/boy-scouts-board-member-gay-policy-resignation_n_1465644.html It looks like the BSA is hiccupping on their decision, a generation and a half apparently wasn't long enough for them to ponder. So what are you and DeBooey going to do if the BSA decide to table this again?
Hookerman February 07, 2013 at 11:35 PM
And our founding fathers felt that a belief in God was so important to the principles of our country, that they mentioned God exactly ZERO times in our nation's constitution.
LVMom February 09, 2013 at 07:40 PM
Thank you for being a voice of reason Mr. DeBoey! Maybe you should tell Boy Scouts change the rule or we create our own Organization.
BARBARA ARNOLD February 10, 2013 at 05:44 PM
Bravo Beth. The Boy Scouts train the kids to be good citizens and leaders. Why would We want to leave anyone out. We have so much prejudice today. Please take The steps to stop it. My husband was a Boy Scout who went all the way to the Silver Beaver award. He always Kept in touch with his scouts. He came from a small town in Texas during the depression. The only thing they had was the Boy Scouts and they all turned out to be very Accomplished adults. Please keep the tradition going.
Thomas Lotito February 11, 2013 at 06:00 PM
The original issue about homosexuals in the scouts was about a homosexual assistant Scoutmaster James Dale, who had made his homosexuality public and whom the BSA had expelled from the organization. Freedom of association allows a private organization like the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to exclude a person from membership when "the presence of that person affects in a significant way the group's ability to advocate public or private viewpoints.

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