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Public Statements

Letter To Mr. Robert Mazzuca, Chief Scout Executive, Boy Scouts of America

Congressman Ackerman and Members of Congress Call on Boy Scouts of America to End Its Discrimination against Gays and Lesbians

Today, 26 Members of Congress urged the Boy Scouts of America to end its discriminatory policy of not accepting gays and lesbians in a letter sent to the Chief Scout Executive of the organization.

The correspondence, initiated by U.S. Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), was sent in response to the Boy Scouts' rejection of Cate and Elizabeth Wirth, a couple in Vermont who were told they could not volunteer for their 10 year old son's Cub Scout pack after it was revealed that the women are lesbians. In explaining the Boy Scouts' national policy of excluding gays and lesbians as volunteers, their district director suggested that the Wirths would "push their lifestyle on the boys."

"Regrettably, the current, discriminatory policy of the Boy Scouts of America has denied opportunities for young scouts, community-oriented citizens, and loving parents," the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Robert Mazzuca, the Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. "As you celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, it is long past time that the Boy Scouts finally provide the opportunity for all Scouts, Leaders, and volunteers, to share in the joys of Scouting, regardless of sexual orientation."

Ackerman, a proud Eagle Scout, continues to salute the tireless contributions of Scouts from throughout the nation but contends that the discriminatory policy of the organization must change.

"I'll always be a proud Eagle Scout, but this discriminatory policy must end" said Ackerman. "Rejecting a Cub Scout's mothers from volunteering just because of their sexual orientation doesn't comply with the Scout law I recited at Scout meetings."

"Scouting is a proud and honorable tradition in this country, but discrimination is not," said Congresswoman Baldwin, Co-Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. "Children with same sex parents deserve the same opportunities to have their parents involved in their scouting experience as their classmates do and I urge the Boy Scouts of America to end this discriminatory policy," Baldwin said.

The letter was signed by a total of 26 Members of Congress. The full text of the letter and the signatories are below.

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February 1, 2010

Mr. Robert Mazzuca
Chief Scout Executive
Boy Scouts of America
National Office
1329 West Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, TX 75038

Dear Mr. Mazzuca:

We write in response to the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) recent rejection of Cate and Elizabeth Wirth, two mothers of a Scout, who applied to serve as parent volunteers. We call on the Boy Scouts to end its policy of discrimination and exclusion based solely on sexual orientation.

Regrettably, the current, discriminatory policy of the Boy Scouts of America has denied opportunities for young scouts, dedicated community-oriented citizens, and loving parents. Most recently, as reported on December 30, 2009, Cate and Elizabeth Wirth, both legal mothers of their 10 year old son, Dylan, were turned down as volunteer Cub Scout leaders after the local Boy Scouts District Director cited the national policy of the BSA regarding lesbian and gay volunteers, and suggested that the Wirths would "push their lifestyle on the boys." We would think the Boy Scouts would encourage all parents to take an active involvement in their children's Scouting life. Cate and Elizabeth had volunteered before without problem, such that the Boy Scouts happily accepted their service again until learning of their sexual orientation.

For a century, the Boy Scouts have united communities, instilled the value of public service, and encouraged civic participation among America's youth. Congress has repeatedly recognized the importance of the Boy Scouts in our communities with numerous honors, including a Congressional charter and, most recently, a resolution expressing support for February 8, 2010 as "Boy Scouts of America Day". As you celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, it is long past time that the Boy Scouts finally provide the opportunity for all Scouts, Leaders, and volunteers, to share in the joys of Scouting, regardless of sexual orientation.

This policy of discrimination and exclusion is contrary to the Boy Scouts own stated values. According to Scout law, "A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent." We fail to see how it is friendly, courteous, or kind to bar loving parents from volunteering for their child's Cub Scout pack just because of who they love. Furthermore, it is difficult to imagine how singling out the parents of one Scout for exclusion is an example of Scout loyalty.

As deeply troubling as the exclusionary policy is, the message that the policy sends is perhaps most damaging. The Boy Scouts are teaching America's youth at impressionable ages that lesbians and gays are to be excluded because they are different, and not "morally straight" as per the Boy Scouts' official stated position.

Furthermore, it is particularly disappointing that an organization that prides itself on inclusion and diversity remains committed to a policy that is anything but. Again, according to the Scout handbook, a Scout should "look beyond the differences that might separate you from others and accept them for who they are."

We urge you to honor the Boy Scouts' own stated values and reverse this exclusionary and discriminatory policy by providing the opportunity for Cate and Elizabeth Wirth and all other interested Scouts, Leaders, and volunteers to participate, regardless of sexual orientation.

Sincerely,

________________________
GARY L. ACKERMAN
Member of Congress

_________________________
TAMMY BALDWIN
Member of Congress

_________________________
RAÚL M. GRIJALVA
Member of Congress

_________________________
JAMES P. MCGOVERN
Member of Congress

_________________________
FORTNEY PETE STARK
Member of Congress

_________________________
HENRY C. JOHNSON, JR.
Member of Congress

_________________________
LYNN C. WOOLSEY
Member of Congress

_________________________
PETER WELCH
Member of Congress

_________________________
DENNIS J. KUCINICH
Member of Congress

_________________________
LUIS V. GUTIERREZ
Member of Congress

_________________________
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ
Member of Congress

_________________________
BARBARA LEE
Member of Congress

_________________________
JAMES P. MORAN
Member of Congress

_________________________
CHELLIE PINGREE
Member of Congress

_________________________
JARED POLIS
Member of Congress

_________________________
BARNEY FRANK
Member of Congress

_________________________
YVETTE D. CLARKE
Member of Congress

_________________________
BILL DELAHUNT
Member of Congress

_________________________
KEITH ELLISON
Member of Congress

_________________________
JERROLD NADLER
Member of Congress

_________________________
EARL BLUMENAUER
Member of Congress

_________________________
BRAD SHERMAN
Member of Congress

_________________________
BOB FILNER
Member of Congress

_________________________
JANICE SCHAKOWSKY
Member of Congress

_________________________
HOWARD L. BERMAN
Member of Congress

_________________________
JACKIE SPEIER
Member of Congress


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