As Boy Scouts of America (BSA) prepares to reconsider its homosexuality policy, Congresswoman Chellie Pingree wrote to the organization's leaders asking them to lift the ban on openly gay members, volunteers, and staff.
"I think Scouting has had a great impact on our communities and the thousands of young Mainers who have gone through the program. It has taught them valuable lessons about leadership, serving community, and helping others," Pingree said. "But the BSA's discriminatory policies on gays undercut these lessons in many ways. So many parts of our society--including families, the military, and many churches--have changed their attitude toward gays and lesbians. It's time for Boy Scouts of America to catch up to the communities it serves."
Reviewing the policy last year, the organization decided to uphold its longtime ban. The decision sparked the outrage of many, including at least one Eagle Scout in Maine who returned his medal in protest. On Wednesday, BSA's board will consider lifting the national ban while giving local groups the power to decide whether to exclude or welcome gays.
"I appreciate that BSA is reconsidering the policy, but they should not allow discrimination at any level," said Pingree. "It's not okay to give some kids the opportunity Scouting offers while withholding it from others. I sincerely hope Boy Scouts of America make the right decision."