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Knox Trail Boy Scouts May Vote To Ignore Anti-Gay Stance

When the Knox Trail Boy Scouts Council Board of Directors meets Thursday, they may vote to take action against the National Boy Scouts anti-gay policy.

When the Knox Trail Boy Scouts Council Board of Directors meets Thursday night, they may vote to take action against the National Boy Scouts anti-gay policy. The Council represents Westborough and 20 other communities in Massachusetts.

The possible vote comes after more than half of the parents of Framingham Cub Scout Pack 12, based out of Plymouth Church, sent a letter in September to the executive director of The Knox Trail Council of Boy Scouts, stating they have and will continue to ignore the anti-gay policy of Boy Scouts of America.

We do not and never will discriminate on the basis of race, religion and sexual orientation. Pack 12 invites the participation of all interested 6- to 11-year old boys and their parents or guardians, without regard to sexual orientation. We urge the Knox Trail Council to adopt a similar stance on behalf of all of the MetroWest area districts."

Knox Trail Council Board wrote in an October newsletter it is "trying to come to terms with the recent

At a meeting in September, the Knox Trail Council Executive Committee discussed the National Boy Scout policy, said Framingham resident Chris Petrini, a member of the executive committee.

The executive committee was "disappointed that National BSA had decided to reaffirm this policy. The Knox Trail Council Executive Committee agreed to review the national BSA policy, seek input from our members, and bring the issue to the full Knox Trail Council Board," it states to Scouts and parents in a newsletter.

Petrini, who said Scouting played a significant role in his life after his father died, said he is hopeful the Knox Trail Council will take a stance against the National Boy Scout Policy, but there are issues to be resolved.

Petrini, who achieved his Eagle Scout merit badge, said he personally is disappointed with the national policy, as Scouts have traditionally been "inclusive of all." Even during the civil rights movement, there was never any segregation in Scouting, said Petrini.

Petrini said he believes the biggest issue with the Knox Trail Council taking a stance is not a loss of members, as there is widespread support for the all-inclusive, no discrimination based on religion, race or sexual orientation, model here in Massachusetts; but more that the national Boy Scouts Council could revoke the Knox Council's charter.

It states in the national Scouting bylaws that a charter may be revoked or declined for "failure to comply with the bylaws, rules and regulations."

In 2003, a California Council lost its Boy Scout charter when it refused to adhere to the anti-gay stance of the National Boy Scouts. Back then, Roy L. Williams, a national Scout executive, issued a memo stating that no local council "is permitted to depart from BSA membership policies."

In June of 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2000 that Boy Scouts, as a private organization, has the right to ban gay members and leaders.

Both presidential candidates have spoken out against the national Boy Scout policy.

"I feel that all people should be able to participate in the Boy Scouts regardless of their sexual orientation," said Mitt Romney.

"Boy Scouts is a valuable organization that has helped educate and build character in American boys for more than a century. He also opposes discrimination in all forms, and as such opposes this policy that discriminates on basis of sexual orientation," said President Obama.

The Knox Trail Council is made up of three districts.

  • LIBERTY DISTRICT: Ashland, Framingham, Holliston, Maynard, Natick, Sherborn, Stow, Sudbury, Wayland 
  • TRI RIVER DISTRICT: Hudson, Marlborough, Southborough, Westborough, Hopkinton, Milford, Hopedale, Mendon, Northborough 
  • VIKING DISTRICT: Weston, Newton, Wellesley
Jsmith October 17, 2012 at 04:01 PM
This is a serious mistake that could really hurt them. Do they think the National BSA (whose youth protection policy they are refusing to follow) will protect them when some kid's family sues them after their son is molested on a camp out by a gay scoutmaster? If they do, they're foolish. Likewise, do they think parents will send their sons on campouts with gay scoutmasters? Also foolish. This is not about someone's supposed bias. This is about protecting youth from predatory gay men who prey on them in scouting. Those who think they don't need to look at the recently released so-called "pervert files".
Andy Koenigsberg October 17, 2012 at 06:48 PM
You are conflating homosexuality with child molesters - which is just flat out incorrect. Child molesters are something like 11 times more likely to be heterosexual than homosexual, as the case of Jerry Sandusky shows. This is also the problem with the National BSA policy - confusing homosexuals with child molesters. There is nothing in the BSA Youth Protection Program regarding avoidance of homosexuals. It's about recognizing child predators - who can be anyone, even a family member, close family friend, coach or teacher. I know, I have taken the course 3 or 4 times over the last decade. As a Scouter, an Eagle Scout and the father of a Boy Scout - I applaud the KTC for questioning the judgement of the national's policy. If being gay has turned out to be a non-issue for the U.S. Military, then perhaps it's time for the BSA to do the same.
Melissa October 17, 2012 at 07:49 PM
I'm confused, Jsmith. Are you saying all gay men are predators who, if given the chance to be a scoutmaster, would molest young boys in their care? Or are you saying that an unmasked monster who preys on young boys by parading as a scoutmaster is gay? Either way, I think you're making a wild assumption based on your own disciminatory beliefs. You say, "this is about protecting youth from predatory gay men who prey on them in scouting." But let's not forget that anyone that preys on a childs innocence, boy or girl, is mentally unstable. And maybe you should focus your point on the fact that there are sick people in this world who will parade as a scoutmaster, friend, teacher, priest, coach, to prey on children.

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