BSA: Gays Aren't Pedophiles, But They Still Can't Be Leaders
BY Daniel Reynolds
July 31 2014 5:28 PM ET
A spokesman for the Boy Scouts of America maintains that the organization does not believe that there is a link between same-sex attraction and child abuse — though it still will not consider allowing gay men to serve as leaders.
Tico Perez, BSA’s national commissioner, spoke about the youth organization’s controversial ban on out gay scoutmasters in a recent interview with IndefinitelyWild, an outdoor-focused arm of the tech blog Gizmodo.
In the article published Wednesday, IndefinitelyWild asked Perez: “Does the Boy Scouts consider gay adults predators or pedophiles?”
“Let me be as clear as I can be on that topic: No, no, and no,” Perez responded. “This has never been an issue of predators or pedophilia. We have studied every piece of data and every piece of information that the rest of the world has and there is no relationship between homosexuality and pedophilia. That is not the issue.”
When asked if and when BSA would amend its discriminatory policy, Perez stated that the issue was currently not under review, a decision that he claims was reached by the membership board in 2013, when that board voted to allow out gay scouts to participate in the organization until they are 18 years old. The ban on gay youth, but not adults, was lifted January 1.
“Our newly elected president said it best,” Perez said, referring to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, who was named president of the BSA in May. “We've done what we are going to do on this issue for now. We need to now focus on retooling our movement and to grow. And I don't think there's any interest in addressing gay adult leadership at this time. And for a while. I think the movement has spoken on that issue. Our focus is the kids, we are not a political organization, we serve young people.”
BSA made headlines in April when it revoked the membership of Geoff McGrath, a 49-year-old Eagle Scout and scoutmaster of a Seattle-area troop, after BSA officials learned of his sexual orientation. He may have been the first gay leader to be expelled after the organization’s revised policy to allow out youth members was enacted.
“It’s extremely disappointing to not be fully supported and defended in my membership,” McGrath said at the time. “They are complaining that the problem [my sexual orientation] is a distraction to Scouting, and they don’t seem to understand that the distraction is self-inflicted.”