Monday, October 18, 2010

Boy Scouts Continue History of Discrimination

A University Park father learned this week that he will not be able to serve as a leader in his 9-year-old's Cub Scout pack because he's gay.

For the last two years Jon Langbert has organized a popcorn fundraiser for Pack 70 at University Park Elementary. Then at a September Scout meeting, someone complained about his homosexuality, Langbert said.

He said he was told this week that he can't wear the Scout leader shirt he was given last year and that he cannot serve in a leadership position because of his sexual orientation.

"What message does that send to my son? It says I'm a second-class citizen," Langbert said.

Robert McTaggart, the Cubmaster for Pack 70, said Langbert will be allowed to continue as a popcorn fundraiser. That position is not considered a leadership role and can be held by a volunteer.

The Boys Scouts of America has had a long-standing policy that rejects leaders who are gay or atheist. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the organization's rules in a 5-4 decision.

"Our policy is not meant to serve as social commentary outside the Scout program," said Pat Currie of the Circle 10 Council, the umbrella organization that oversees Pack 70. "We respect people who have a different opinion from us. We just hope those same people will respect our right to have a different opinion."

The situation in University Park came to light after Park Cities People reported it online Friday.

Currie said Langbert can continue to participate in the pack's activities as a parent.

"We wish him all the best in that endeavor, obviously," he said. "It's our hope and our desire that he stays in the program."

Langbert has agreed to continue raising money through the popcorn fundraiser, which ends in late November. But he said he's not going to let the Boy Scouts "brush this under the carpet."

He said he is angry the Highland Park school district allows the Boy Scouts to use its facilities in spite of their discrimination. He said he has contacted attorneys.

"My tax dollars are paying for their discrimination. And the next gay dad who wants to come along can't. I'm not going to let them," Langbert said. "My position is that the school cannot allow the use of their facilities to an organization that discriminates."


Anonymous said...

That's just awful. They are a horrible example for tomorrow's leaders. How can the community stand for this? It seems like we have come so far in some areas and nowhere in others.

LZ said...

That father should take his son and leave the boy scouts. Why would he want to raise funds for an organization that won't allow him to represent them? Sure, they want him to be they can get his money. I wish people would make as big an issue of the Boy Scout policy against homosexuality as the do about Don't Ask Don't Tell. They are about the same and equally disciminatory.

Mikemenn said...

It's a private organization. Some religions are the same way. They're private, too. Horrible? No. You don't like it? Sure. But I don't like that you don't like it. It's a free country. I'll support your right not to like it as I support the BSA to make their own rules.

Anonymous said...

@Mikemenn: If the Boy Scouts discriminates, then it shouldn't receive US tax dollar benefits (through support from public schools, military branches, and other public entities). Somehow the BSA has finagled this ruse of both government support and the right to discriminate. Would it make sense for your tax dollars to support the KKK? The Boy Scouts is akin to a light version of the Hitler Youth. I certainly don't want my tax dollars being used to support hate.