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Georgia Parents Protest Boy Scouts of America’s Discriminatory Policy on Gays

Posted on 29 May 2007 by Dan

Georgia parents are protesting the discriminatory policies of the Boy Scouts of America in light of the organization’s decision to hold its annual meeting in Atlanta on May 30th and 31st and are urging the nearly century-old group to change its unethical policy of excluding gay Scouts and Scoutmasters from membership.

Dale Merkle of Atlanta, a former Boy Scout who was also a Cub Scout den leader, expressed dismay that the Boy Scouts of America have adopted a discriminatory policy that didn’t exist when he was raising his own children and was involved in Scouting.

“I don’t know which is worse, that the Boy Scouts of America discriminate the way they do, or that they think it’s okay to flaunt this discrimination in Atlanta, a city that for many people is synonymous with the civil rights movement,” said Merkle, a father of three children, two of whom are gay, and a member of the Atlanta chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG). “I would hope that — at the very least — a discussion of this outdated policy would be on the agenda for this important meeting, but it appears that the current Board of the Boy Scouts of America organization simply doesn’t care about fairness.”

“In the name of ‘morals’, the Boy Scouts of America have adopted a bigoted policy that flies in the face of what a majority of Americans believe,” Merkle said. “This hurts every Scout by planting the seeds o intolerance, and there’s nothing moral about that.”

Macon PFLAG Co-President Rene Sanchez, who is the father of a gay son and is also a public health professional, expressed concern that the gay-exclusion policy gives today’s Scouts mixed messages on personal morality.

“Scouting has always been about producing young men of character and integrity,” said Sanchez. “Most young people today understand that anti-gay policies are bigotry, so the Scouts’ policy of anti-gay discrimination must seem tragically out of step for today’s members.”

PFLAG National President John Cepek, a father of a gay son in Indian Head Park, Ill., called on the Boy Scouts of America to change their exclusionary policy against gay participation.

“What better time than an annual meeting for an organization like the Boy Scouts of America to take a bold stand and prove through a change in policy that discrimination is always wrong,” said Cepek. “Atlanta would be the perfect place to begin teaching today’s young men such a profoundly moral lesson.”, a national support organization with six Georgia chapters in Albany, Atlanta, Blairsville, Gainesville, Macon and Marietta.

PFLAG is a support, education and advocacy organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) people, their families and friends. PFLAG is the largest grassroots-based family organization of its kind, with 200,000 members and supporters, and local affiliates in more than 500 communities across the U.S. and abroad. PFLAG is a non-profit organization and is not affiliated with any religious or political institutions.

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