Board member of Boy Scouts speaks out against anti-gay policy

The CEO of Ernst & Young, board member of the Boy Scouts of America, has expressed opposition to BSA's anti-gay policy, and said he is working with the group to amend its membership rules. This comes after one lesbian mom ousted as Tiger Cub den leader launched an online petition urging board members to speak out on the issue. From msnbc.com:


James Turley, global chairman and CEO of consulting and tax firm Ernst & Young, said late Tuesday that his experience had led him “to believe that an inclusive environment” was “important throughout our society.”

“I support the meaningful work of the Boy Scouts in preparing young people for adventure, leadership, learning and service, however the membership policy is not one I would personally endorse,” he said in a statement first reported by CNBC. “ … I intend to continue to work from within the BSA Board to actively encourage dialogue and sustainable progress.”

Another BSA board member was more reticent on the issue: “We don’t agree with every policy of every organization we support, nor would we expect them to agree with us on everything," said Randall Stephenson, CEO of AT&T. "Our belief is that change at any organization must come from within to be successful and sustainable."

The Boy Scouts announced last week that it is considering a resolution that calls for amending its rules to allow local affiliates to set their own policies on the issue. Read entire story here.

Comments (2)

For those not familiar with past actions of TEC on this issue, we adopted the following in Denver in 2000

Resolution Number: 2000-C031
Title: Recommend Clergy to Engage the Boy Scouts of America on Issues of Sexual Orientation
Legislative Action Taken: Concurred as Amended
Final Text:
Resolved, That the 73rd General Convention recommend that all clergy in charge of congregations and vestries:
1) Inform the local Boy Scouts of America council and other organizations of the Episcopal Church's policy adopted at the 65th General Convention (1976) that "homosexual persons are children of God who have a full and equal claim with all other persons upon the love, acceptance, and pastoral concern and care of the Church";
2) Encourage the Boy Scouts of America to allow membership to youth and adult leaders irrespective of their sexual orientation;
3) Strongly encourage individual churches which charter or host scout units to open a dialogue with the unit leaders, scouts, and their parents regarding discrimination against youth and leaders on the basis of sexual orientation;
4) Engage in educational programs within their churches to inform members and others about these issues; and be it further
Resolved, That the 73rd General Convention recommend the Office of the General Convention send a copy of this resolution to the National Office of the Boy Scouts of America.

Susan Russell
Diocese of Los Angeles

Hello, Susan!

The membership policies of the BSA - in fact, the policies of the BSA overall - are controlled by the unit sponsors. BSA units (Packs, Troops, Crews, Ships and Teams) are essentially operated as franchises by their sponsors. One out of every eighg Boy Scouts are in units sponsored by Mormon stakes. Another one out of 8 are members of units sponsored by the Methodists. Another 10% are sponsored by the Roman Catholic Church. That means that approximately 1/3 of all Scouts belong to units that are sponsored by organizations that have a pretty traditional attitude towards homosexuality.

These organizations have seats on the National Council's Relationships Committee, which is the committee charged to maintaining the BSA's relationships with it's sponsors. Any resolution towards changing the BSA's membership policies will go before this committee, just as the other proposals have. And it will very likely meet the same fate as the other ones have - the Relationships Committee will recommend that there should be no changes in the BSA's membership policies. Understand the the Mormons and the Catholics would likely immediately drop all their units if any such change occurred. The Methodists might do so as well.

And that's just the sponsors. A lot of people belonging to other units would vote with their feet and leave rather than have their kids belong to a unit that was led by a gay man. Making such a change in their membership policies would be a great way to see the BSA's membership cut in half in short order.

thanks for commenting RonF - please sign your full name next time. ~ed.

Add your comments

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)

Reminder: At Episcopal Café, we hope to establish an ethic of transparency by requiring all contributors and commentators to make submissions under their real names. For more details see our Feedback Policy.

Advertising Space