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California leaders put sexuality ahead of effectiveness of Boy Scouts

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POSTED April 19, 2010 12:51 a.m.
Boy Scouts of America do not ask prospective youth members about their sexual preference.

This point is lost big time in the cultural war launched by those who think it is somehow unconstitutional - it’s not by the way - that Scouting will not tolerate openly gay adult leaders within its organization.

Those who do not agree with the Supreme Court decision in 2000 of Boy Scouts of America et al v. Dale that the organization has the right to freedom of association have used every venue possible to try and hammer Scouting into submission.

That decision ultimately led to silliness this past week up in Sacramento. Republican lawmakers sponsored a resolution honoring by Scouts for 100 years of service. The move prompted Democrats to kill off the resolution because Scouting excludes those who make their homosexuality known. That prompted the Republicans to yell “foul” and slam the Democrats for slamming an American institution. Instead of letting dead horses lay, the Democrats decided to continue the political slugfest. They introduced legislation honoring Girl Scouts with specific language that the organization doesn’t discriminate based on sexual orientation. This drew a sharp rebuke from the GOP for the Democrats interjecting sexual orientation into a simple effort to honor two youth groups.

It should be noted that while Boy Scouts asserts homosexuality is inconsistent with the value system it instills in youth, the organization avoids discussing the subject with boys like the plague. National guidelines say adult leaders do not advise Scouts about sexual matters.

The debate about Boy Scouts and homosexuality underscores the dangerous way in which “the rights” of people based on sexuality are being fought. There is a huge difference between discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and basic rights versus freedom of association. Free will is an important cornerstone of democracy just as is equal rights. Neither, though, is absolute due to restraints that run the gamut from not being free to do things that impede the rights of others to not being forced to think as others do. It is necessary balancing act to protect the common interests of society while preserving the rights of individuals. It isn’t a perfect process, However, the relentless drive in some quarters to punish the Boy Scouts for not acting politically correct falls in line with the mentality behind some of the most egregious “thought” cleansing that’s been done in the name of creating a perfect society.

A perfect society, off course, is always defined by those that can assert the most power.

Defining every argument about sexuality is disingenuous.

Back in the 1980s, then Sacramento Mayor Anne Rudin came under attack because the city’s police department was allegedly discriminating against gays by arresting them for having public sex in a popular area near the American River directly across from homes.

This led to demonstrations and demands that police stop discriminating against gays. The accusation, of course, was that the police were not arresting heterosexuals for having sex in public.

I was working for The Press-Tribune in Roseville at the time. Two months later I came across a short story on the back side of an article I had clipped about five months early from the Sacramento Bee that reported on arrests made in the same neighborhood for public sex.

It turns out the couples in the earlier incident were heterosexual.

I pointed this out in a column noting that the police were merely enforcing the law against having sex in public and not specifically against gays having sex in public.

The column prompted one of the vilest and aggressive responses I’ve ever experienced. So-called leaders a gay rights movement in Sacramento at the time called me a bigot and homophobic. It did not matter that the truth was simple. Neighbors were getting tired of people having sex in public view on their street whether they were heterosexual or homosexual. Police in responding found those involved - whether they were gay or not - of violating a state law that makes no mention of the offenders having to be gay or straight. They simply cannot be having sex of any kind in public.

The gay militants in this particular case were trying to elevate gays into a class exempted from basic public decency laws.

Gay rights must be protected or else none of us will have rights whether we are straight, gay or however we chose to define ourselves sexually.

Sexuality doesn’t enter into any of the tenets or objectives of Scouting. Rest assured there have been tens of thousands of gay Scouts - if not more - during the past 100 years. As for sexual orientation, the Scouts do not interject it into the discussion when they are bringing boys into the organization nor should the youth.

If a boy wants to join an organization to discuss his sexual orientation then he should join such a group.
 
The real issue, of course, is what some adults want and believe is their right to have which is to interject sexuality into the Scouting equation.

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