(Photo: REUTERS/Adam Hunger)
Texas Gov. Rick Perry will be among the speakers at the "Stand with Scouts Sunday" nationwide simulcast event to support Boy Scouts of America's membership policies on homosexuality.
Perry, a recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, will be joined by Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the organization that's hosting the Stand with Scouts Sunday event, along with John Stemberger, Eagle Scout and founder of OnMyHonor.Net, a coalition of BSA parents and scouting leaders, who are asking members of the national council to vote "No" on the BSA's resolution to lift the ban on openly gay membership.
In April, the BSA released a proposal that states: "No youth may be denied membership in the Boy Scouts of America on the basis of sexual orientation or preference alone." While allowing gay members, the Scouts would at the same time maintain its gay ban when it comes to leadership. The 1,400 members of the national council will be voting on the resolution on May 22 and 23 in Grapevine, Texas.
Stemberger published an open letter to the members of the national council that includes a list of 10 reasons why they should vote against the proposed resolution to change the BSA's membership standards. Among the concerns listed by Stemberger is that LGBT activists might "use the phrase 'sexual preference' to push for transgendered girls in the BSA. If a biological girl 'prefers' acting out as a transgendered boy, she must also be allowed into any Boy Scout troop."
In the letter, Stemberger states, "In October of 2011, the Girl Scouts admitted a 7-year-old boy into their program who preferred to be treated as a girl. Because the vague and undefined phrase 'sexual preference' is used in the resolution, it opens the door and requires Scout units to accept any sexual preference expressed."
According to Nathan Rosenberg, a member of the BSA's executive committee, the organization's decision to allow the national committee to vote on a resolution to change membership standards has nothing to do with outside pressure from activist groups.
"Some people have said that we're changing our membership standards in response to pressure—political pressure, outside groups, it's not true," Rosenberg said during the national voting membership livecast on April 29. "We've responded to input from members and decided to act. It's a result of a dialogue within the scouting community."
Rosenberg added that the BSA's primary focus is on the children. "We're here to serve kids, and we should serve as many kids as we can."
Perkins of the Family Research Council believes the BSA is caving under pressure from activist groups, and cites that 70 percent of scouting groups are chartered by churches and faith-based organizations that would be forced out of scouting if the Scouts' National Council votes in favor of the resolution. He also notes that a similar policy adopted in Canada led to a 50 percent drop in membership over 10 years.
In the BSA's official "Voice of the Scout" survey, among the members of the scouting community, 61 percent said they support their current policies. Additionally, 61 percent of respondents agreed that it's acceptable for an openly gay teenager to be denied membership into the Boy Scouts. Likewise, 58 percent of the scouting community supports the current policy that "prohibits open homosexuals from being scouts or adult scout leaders," and agree that the policy "is a core value of scouting found in the Scout Oath of Law."
That being said, 91.6 percent of the 285 councils surveyed responded that a scout member should not be denied the Eagle Scout award if he's openly gay.
The Stand with Scouts Sunday webcast is scheduled for 7 p.m. Eastern Time.