Boy Scouts' Gay Ban Inspires Ex-Scout To Push California To End Youth Organization's Tax Exempt Status

A former scout's petition to end tax-exempt status for the Boy Scouts of America in response to the organization's reaffirmed anti-gay stance is picking up steam.

Ex-Scout Eddie Kurtz, who is straight, launched the petition urging California lawmakers to pass SB 323, which would end tax breaks for youth groups which discriminate against members based on their sexual orientation. At present, the petition has drawn over 7,000 signatures.

In the petition itself, Kurtz -- who now serves as director of campaigns for the Courage Campaign -- says the controversial ban "flies in the face of the very values that the scouting tradition professes to teach." He also notes:

"Scouting stands for the finest qualities of humanity: self-reliance, creativity, and an appreciation of nature. Most of all, we were taught how to act as responsible, respectful citizens.

As a straight ally, I can't sit idle while the current leaders of the Boy Scouts disgrace this once-proud American institution with their personal bigotry. Boy Scouts of America needs to do the right thing and change their policy to allow openly gay members."

You can view Kurtz's petition here.

Though lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights advocates praised the Boy Scouts' pledge to reconsider their ban on excluding openly gay participants, the youth organization opted to postpone a decision on whether or not to ease the policy until May, citing "the complexity of this issue," according to the Associated Press.

Last year, the BSA "emphatically reaffirmed" its policy of excluding gays as both leaders and Scouts.

"The vast majority of the parents of youth we serve value their right to address issues of same-sex orientation within their family, with spiritual advisers and at the appropriate time and in the right setting," the Scouts' chief executive, Bob Mazzuci, told the AP, before noting that "no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society."

Prior to that declaration, the BSA's anti-gay policy had been the subject of frequent debate following the case of Jennifer Tyrrell, who was forced to resign as leader of her 7-year-old son's Tiger Scout den after revealing she is a lesbian. The Merck Company Foundation, the Intel Foundation and UPS subsequently dropped or postpone funding to the BSA in the wake of the policy's reaffirmation.



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