If Boy Scout’s Gay Ban is Lifted, Where Would Philly Stand?

Regional Council members assure me the local debate has been “lively.”

Next week, during a closed-door meeting, the national executive board of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will gather to discuss doing away with an anti-gay policy that denies membership to LGBTQ members and troop leaders. The ban was officially instituted after the youth org won a much-talked-about Supreme Court case last summer. Since then, there’s been a lot of negativity floating around them, including losing top funders like Merck, UPS and Intel, and vilifying national headlines about faithful BSA members who were kicked to the curb because of their sexual orientation.

It’s no shocker this new news has also spawned all kinds of nasty responses from anti-gay groups. Metro Weekly‘s queer-slanted Poliglot blog lays out some of the horribly offensive responses from groups like the Family Research Council and the Florida Family Policy. In an announcement on his radio show, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association says — are you sitting? — approving the ban would promote pedophilia. “If I’m a dad, and I’ve got a young man — I mean there’s no way in the world I’m going to take that chance. … Male homosexuals offend against children at roughly 10 times the rate that heterosexuals offend against young children.” Metro Weekly quickly clears up that statement with, “In reality, numerous studies have shown no scientific basis for the argument that gay men are more likely than straight men to molest children.”

If the ban is lifted, the new pro-gay-ish policy would allow local chartering organizations to decide whether or not they will accept gays into their clubs, which has me wondering what would happen in Philadelphia. I made some calls to Wayne, Pa.’s Cradle of Liberty Council, but folks there are staying mum until the vote is made next week. Board member David Lipson (full disclosure: he’s also Philly mag’s president), assures that local deliberations have been lively, with several members pushing for retracting the ban. I also reached out to Cradle of Liberty executive director Tom Harrington, who refused to comment until a decision is made next Wednesday.

Keep an eye on G Philly, where I’ll be posting updates as they roll in.

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