April 28, 2013

Another View: Plan to lift ban on gay Scouts solution to nonexistent problem

'Don't ask, don't tell' works well and doesn't force kids to make an issue of their sexuality.

By BILL THOMAS

Regarding the editorial "Our View: Scouts' plan on gays will perpetuate bias" (April 21):

The Boy Scouts of America recently made the announcement that they were going to consider changing their current ban on openly gay members, allowing openly gay boys under 18 to be involved in Scouting. The ban would still be in place for those 18 and over, including all adult volunteers.

This is a complicated issue these days, but this "compromise" does little for either side of the argument. Gay rights advocates feel that it doesn't go far enough, and the opposing side says they are changing the wrong side of the equation.

Although studies have reported that homosexual men are no more likely to be child molesters than heterosexual men, I'm sure many parents would be uncomfortable sending Junior out into the woods with an openly gay Scoutmaster. Right or wrong, they are entitled to their feelings.

Sponsorship is another big issue. I don't know the statistics, but many donated meeting places are churches and other organizations that may not be on board with the gay movement. They also have that right to deny use of their halls.

To quote the news release, their proposed change "reinforces that Scouting is a youth program, and any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting."

When I look back at my years of involvement with the program, call me naive, but I don't think kids that age think much about their sexuality. They're too busy being kids.

Were there gay Scoutmasters and kids back then? I'm sure there were but we didn't notice, nor ask, which I think is the key here. Why do we all have to declare our sexuality, wear it like a badge, be openly gay or straight?

Call me a dinosaur, but I was perfectly happy with "Don't ask, don't tell." What goes on behind one's bedroom doors is nobody's business but your own.

Bill Thomas is a resident of Sanford.

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