Gay youth may join the Boy Scouts
January 1st, 2014
05:38 AM ET

Gay youth may join the Boy Scouts

Starting Wednesday, openly gay youths will be allowed to join scouting.
Boy Scouts of America made the decision in May to accept them into their ranks. The resolution took effect when the new year rang in.
More than 60% of the group's 1,400-member national council voted back then at an annual meeting in Grapevine, Texas, for the change.

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Filed under: Boy Scouts • Gay and lesbian • Texas • U.S. • Uncategorized • World Update
March 13th, 2013
03:41 AM ET

Survey: Can gay, straight Scouts share tent?

The questions go to the heart of the issue, presenting possible scenarios some may find challenging.

The Boy Scouts of America, now considering a change in the group's longstanding policy against allowing openly gay members, has sent out surveys to leaders and parents.

The survey asks nine questions on the issue that go beyond a simple yes or no. Among them: Is it acceptable or unacceptable for a gay scout and a straight scout to share a tent on an overnight camping trip?

The five multiple-choice answers range from "totally acceptable" to "totally unacceptable."

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February 6th, 2013
10:34 AM ET

Boy Scouts delay vote on gay membership ban

We're going to have to wait a bit longer to see whether the Boy Scouts will drop their across-the-board ban on openly gay members.

The Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday delayed its vote on a proposal to let local troops decide whether to allow openly gay members and leaders.

The organization, which had been expected to vote Wednesday, said it needs more time to get input from its members. The vote will now be held in May.

"After careful consideration and extensive dialogue within the Scouting family, along with comments from those outside the organization, the volunteer officers of the Boy Scouts of America’s National Executive Board concluded that due to the complexity of this issue, the organization needs time for a more deliberate review of its membership policy," the group said Wednesday morning.

"To that end, the executive board directed its committees to further engage representatives of Scouting’s membership and listen to their perspectives and concerns."

Read more about the delay here.

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Filed under: Boy Scouts • Gay and lesbian
February 6th, 2013
04:04 AM ET

Boy Scout leaders to vote on ending ban against gay membership

The polarizing debate over whether Boy Scouts of America should allow gay members could culminate with a vote on a new policy Wednesday.

But no matter which way the vote goes, activists on both sides aren't going to be satisfied.

The controversy pits leaders of religious groups that sponsor about 1 million Boy Scouts against activists who want the organization to end its ban on openly gay Scouts and Scout leaders.

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Filed under: Boy Scouts • U.S.
October 18th, 2012
12:59 PM ET

Lawyers release files on alleged Boy Scout abuse, call for Congress audit

Editor's note: Lawyers suing the Boy Scouts of America have released more than 20,000 confidential Boy Scout documents identifying more than 1,000 leaders and volunteers banned from the group after being accused of sexual or inappropriate conduct with boys.

The Portland, Oregon, attorneys are releasing the Scouts' 1,247 "ineligible volunteer files" from 1965 to 1985 - with the approval of the Oregon Supreme Court - after it won an $18.5 million judgment in 2010 against the Boy Scouts in a case where a Scoutmaster sexually abused a boy.

The attorneys also said Thursday they're calling on Congress to audit the group's current child abuse policy to "see if they are doing what they say they are doing and if they are effective."

The attorneys, who represent victims in several lawsuits against the Scouts, say the Boy Scouts hid evidence from the public and police, and that the so-called "perversion files" offer insight into what they deem a serious problem in the organization. Below are details from the lawyers' Thursday press conference, and the Boy Scouts' reaction.

[Updated at 4:47 p.m. ET] The Boy Scouts of America has issued a statement responding to the documents' release:

"Nothing is more important than the safety of our Scouts. There have been instances where people misused their positions in scouting to abuse children, and in certain cases, our response to these incidents and our efforts to protect youth were plainly insufficient, inappropriate, or wrong. Where those involved in scouting failed to protect, or worse, inflicted harm on children, we extend our deepest and sincere apologies to victims and their families.

“We have always cooperated fully with any requests from law enforcement and welcome any additional examination by authorities of Scouting policies, training, and files to learn from our longstanding Youth Protection efforts. In fact, next month in Atlanta, the BSA is hosting a Youth Protection Symposium in cooperation with other youth-serving organizations where nationally recognized third-party experts will discuss and share best practices.”

The Boy Scouts also say that the files "are not and have never been secret."

"They have been reported extensively in the media going back to the New York Times in 1935, included in books on scouting throughout our history, and were the subject of numerous news articles and a book in the 1990s," the Boy Scouts' statement says. "Further, the files are known to many of the millions of volunteers in scouting, because joining the organization requires they be cross-checked against this list. While not secret, the files are confidential because experts agree that confidentiality is a key component of effective government and private-sector reporting programs."

The Boy Scouts say their policies "have always required scouting to adhere to state laws in reporting abuse."

"Today, it is mandatory that any good-faith suspicion of abuse is immediately reported to law enforcement. In the files released today, police were involved in nearly two-thirds (63%) and a majority of these files (58%) included information known to the public," the statement said.

[Updated at 2:20 p.m. ET] The press conference is over. Kelly Clark's law firm in Portland says it has published the files on its website. CNN is not linking out to the reports in this blog post because we haven’t vetted the allegations that they contain, and because the attorneys say that they haven’t checked the veracity of all the allegations.

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