SLDN, OutServe Call for Boy Scouts of America To Lift Discriminatory Ban
For Immediate Release:
Thursday, July 19, 2012
Contact: Zeke Stokes at
(202) 621-5406 or email@example.com
(Washington, DC) – Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) and OutServe, the association of actively serving LGBT members of the armed forces, today called on the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) to abandon its policy of discrimination - reaffirmed by its decision this week - excluding gay Scouts and adult leaders from participating in one of the largest youth organizations in the United States. The organization boasts 2.7 million youth members and more than a million adult volunteers. Since its founding in 1910, more than 110 million Americans have been members of the BSA.
"This discriminatory policy sends a disturbing and indefensible message of bigotry to our nation's next generation of leaders, many of whom we know will seek a career in our armed forces, where gay and lesbian Americans may now serve openly. Indeed, scouting historically has provided a steady stream of qualified applicants for the nation's military service academies. It's time for the Boy Scouts of America to catch up with the new policies in place as a result of the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' lift this outdated and discriminatory ban, and affirm the dignity and contributions of all who wish to serve," said Army Veteran and SLDN Executive Director Aubrey Sarvis, also a member of Boy Scouts of America in his youth.
A snapshot of the West Point Class of 2015 profile underscores the connection between Scouting and those who enter the nation's service academies. Of the 1261 admitted applicants, 445 of them - a full 35 percent - had participated in Scouting activities. The West Point application for admission includes a check-off for Scouts membership.
Sue Fulton - a 1980 West Point graduate and former Army Captain, Executive Director of Knights Out, and member of the OutServe Board of Directors - joined Sarvis in calling for the Boy Scouts of America to leave the policy behind.
"There should be no place for discrimination in one of America's most beloved and historic institutions for our youth. The Boy Scouts of America should follow the lead of the Girl Scouts and send a strong and powerful message that there is a place for all young people who want to serve their communities. At West Point and at the service academies which accept so many of these young leaders into our ranks, we have moved past the painful and discriminatory policies of the past, and it's time for the Boy Scouts to do the same," she said.
Fulton is also a member of the West Point Board of Visitors.
ABOUT SLDN: Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving. Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender service members with questions are urged to contact the SLDN hotline to speak with a staff attorney: Call 1-800-538-7418 or 202-328-3244 x100.
ABOUT OUTSERVE: OutServe is the association of actively-serving LGBT military personnel. With more than 5,500 members and 50+ chapters worldwide, it is one of the largest LGBT employee resource groups in the world. OutServe works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity.