Boy Scouts Survey Pack Leaders on Gay Ban

Before it reconsiders its ban on gay troops and leaders, the Boy Scouts of America is turning to current pack leaders to gauge internal support for a gay-inclusive future.

BY Sunnivie Brydum

March 11 2013 3:17 PM ET

The Boy Scouts of America has disseminated an online survey asking its troop leaders how they feel about the organization's long-standing, controversial ban on openly gay scouts and leaders. 

Screenshots obtained by Towleroad show a series of pointed questions asked of BSA packleaders about their feelings on the ban, if they would leave the organization if it changed its policy, and about whether it is acceptable or unacceptable for gay troops and leaders to bunk with heterosexual scouts, serve as pack leaders, or express personal opposition to homosexuality.

Some of the hypotheticals are clearly derived from real-world controversy that has burdened the organization recently.

Last year Jennifer Tyrrell, an out lesbian mother of a Tiger Scout, was removed from her position as den mother when BSA leadership discovered she is gay. 

One of the questions posed in the survey attained by Towleroad reads:

"Johnny, a first grade boy, has joined Tiger Cubs with his friends. Johnny's friends and their parents unanimously nominate Johnny's mom, who is known by them to be lesbian, to be the den leader. Johnny's pack is chartered to a church where the doctrine of that faith does not teach that homosexuality is wrong. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for his mother to serve as a den leader for his Cub Scout den?"

Another hypothetical scenario takes stock of the relationship between religious institutions which often sponsor individual troops and the BSA's national policy:

"A troop is chartered by an organization that does not believe homosexuality is wrong and allows gays to be ministers. The youth minister traditionally serves as the Scoutmaster for the troop. The congregation hires a youth minister who is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for this youth minister to serve as the Scoutmaster?"

Yet another question speaks to the ongoing controversy surrounding Eagle Scouts who have been denied the highest rank in the organization due to their sexual orientation, which has prompted some Eagle Scouts to return their medals to BSA headquarters in protest. 

"Tom started in the program as a Tiger Cub, and finished every requirement for the Eagle Scout Award at 16 years of age," reads the prompt. "At his board of review Tom reveals that he is gay. Is it acceptable or unacceptable for the review board to deny his Eagle Scout award based on that admission?"

In February, BSA leadership declined to make a decision about the ban, after being flooded by calls, emails and more than 1.4 million signatures on a petition calling for an end to the antigay policy. The board claims it will review the policy at its national stakeholder meeting in May. 

Tags: Youth

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