Gay Issues

Morally Straight

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Memo to the Boy Scouts: MUST BE TOUGH.

Full disclosure: I don't really give a shit whether the Scouts overturn their ban on gay membership or not. Like most churches, the Boy Scouts are an organization a lot of people grew up in, and have deep attachments to, so they want it to reflect their personal values now that they've grown up to not be dicks. But they don't have to change.

I mean, it'd be nice if they did, so that people could have tiny wooden cars and camping and decades of secret molestation files without the attendant mindless discrimination, but odds are, any attempt to change your organization "from the inside" is going to disappoint you.

And so it was yesterday, when the Scouts, who were expected to make their decision to either keep the national ban, allow local troops to ban gays or not ban gays as they wished, or overturn the ban entirely, instead decided to put off the decision until May. I've seen reports that the delay was due to objections whose epicenter was in Utah, which makes me guess what the decision was going to be before they balked.

Opponents of the ban say it will revitalize Scouting for a young, gay-friendly generation. That's not gonna happen. Barring the collapse of civilization, a generation with GPS phones aren't going to suddenly give a shit about orienteering regardless of orientation.

Supporters of the ban fear a mass exodus of anti-gay Scout troops, most affiliated with anti-gay church organizations. That outcome is far more likely, but it's also far more desirable.

I mean, what'd be more entertaining than watching shunned religious conservatives create a parallel Scouting organization whose sole purpose is to exclude gay people, and then watching Straight Scouts fail in under a year? And on the off chance they don't fail, ten years from now we can compare the secret molestation files of Openly Gay Scouts and Repressed Gay Scouts and confirm what we all suspect.

The Boy Scouts are supposedly all about role models. They have a decision to make. They can take a look at the forces arrayed in support of the ban, from Tony Perkins to Rick Santorum to Pat Robertson, and decide if those are the people they want to model themselves after. They've been fine with it for decades, after all. But society is changing, and who knows. maybe that change can make it all the way to the merit badge and kerchief set.

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