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June 2001 Resolution

     During the 2001 BSA Annual Meeting (June 1, 2001), a resolution was proposed to modify BSA's exclusionary membership policies. The resolution was forwarded to the BSA Relationships Committee for review and comment.
     Below is a November 2001 letter sent by several current and former BSA Council Presidents (volunteer leaders) to the BSA National Council seeking the adoption of the resolution. It was also sent to all the BSA Council Presidents, seeking their support for this resolution. This prompted at least one BSA Regional Director to respond with his own letter to Council Executives.
     In February 2002, the BSA Executive Board met and rejected the resolution (after the BSA Relationships Committee had rejected it) and passed their own resolution, which was forwarded to the BSA National Council at its June 2002 meeting. In 1999, a similar resolution was passed and forwarded to the BSA Relationships Committee for review. Both resolutions were rejected by the BSA.

 

Thursday, November 15, 2001

 

Radm. Thomas Lynch, Chairman of the Board
Cradle of Liberty Council, BSA
22nd & Winter Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1085

    Re: Proposed BSA Statement on Matters of Sexuality

Dear Radm. Lynch:

Since the U. S. Supreme Court decision in June of 2000, Scouting leaders across the country have wrestled with the BSA leadership policy as applied to homosexuals. As you well know, this is a complex issue on which differing views are hard to reconcile.

In many communities and among many Scouters, the present policy interpretation excluding avowed homosexuals from leadership is accepted as consistent with their understanding of Scouting's support of traditional moral values. In many other communities and among many other Scouters, the present policy interpretation is considered inconsistent with Scouting's values of tolerance, deference to a Scout's parents and religious leaders in such matters, and respect for differing beliefs among our religious institutions. For some, homosexuality is immoral. For others, discrimination based on sexual orientation is immoral.

America needs Scouting-now more than ever. At this important time in our history, we cannot afford to allow the differing views on the BSA leadership policy to distract us or the communities we serve from the critical mission of delivering the Scouting program to America's youth. Scouting desperately needs a solution to this difficult issue.

In that spirit, the presidents of nine major metropolitan councils submitted a resolution at the Annual Meeting of the Boy Scouts of America in Boston on June 1, 2001, proposing a new BSA Statement on Matters of Sexuality (the "Proposed Statement"). A copy of the resolution is attached for your reference. The Proposed Statement embodies a policy interpretation that is respectful of differing views, but allows Scouting to move ahead in a less divisive and more positive manner.

At the Annual Meeting, the Proposed Statement was referred to the national Relationships Committee. We understand that the Proposed Statement has been discussed by the Relationships Committee and the Executive Committee of the national Executive Board and will be discussed again at meetings in February, if not sooner. Lyle Knight, President of the Western Region recently addressed a letter to all council presidents and regional board members in the Western Region inviting them to send him their opinions on how the BSA should proceed in order to provide input to the national leadership in its deliberations on the subject.

Since the Annual Meeting, awareness of the Proposed Statement has continued to grow across the country. Today there are roughly three dozen council presidents and past council presidents, and a dozen regional and/or national board members who have endorsed the Proposed Statement along with a majority of council board members in several councils. These endorsements have been communicated to our national leadership, not in defiance of the present policy interpretation, but as a recommendation for the future.

We are acting on the premise that it is best to have deliberations on this subject within the organization, rather than in a public forum, with continuing respect for the established procedures for determining policies of the National Council and with respect for the differing opinions among loyal Scouters on this subject. We ask that you treat this letter and its attachments as a communication in that spirit, for discussion within the Scouting family.

We believe this is an issue of critical importance to the future of Scouting. We believe the Proposed Statement is consistent with the principles of the BSA, yet accommodates the differing views on this subject. Please consider the Proposed Statement carefully.

All of us signing this letter are long time Scouters who have served, are serving or are designated to serve as President or Chairman of the Board of our respective councils. We are writing to you as individual Scouters, with whom we share this common experience, and not in our official capacities as representatives of our councils. Our titles are provided below as an indication of this experience. In addition to service as leaders in our councils, we count among us many who have served on camp staffs, achieved Eagle Scout rank, belong to the Order of the Arrow, served as Cubmasters and Scoutmasters, received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award, the Silver Beaver Award and Silver Antelope Award, as well as those with service at the regional and national board levels.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of us with any questions or comments you have regarding the Proposed Statement. You can reach any of us through Mike Harrison, Past Chairman of the Board, Orange County Council, BSA, xxxx

Of course, we also hope that you will share your views through appropriate channels with our national leadership.

We're proud to be associated with you in service to America's youth through Scouting.

Best Regards,

Dick DeWolfe
Past President
Boston Minuteman Council

Rick Gables
President
West Los Angeles County Council

Lew Greenblatt
President
Chicago Area Council

Tom Lynch
Chairman of the Board
Cradle of Liberty Council, Philadelphia

John McGillicuddy
President
Greater New York Councils

Wayne Moon
Past President
San Francisco Bay Area Council

John Harbison
President
Los Angeles Council

Mike Harrison
Past Chairman of the Board
Orange County Council, California

Parker Kennedy
Chairman of the Board
Orange County Council, California

Bill Swanson
Incoming President
Los Angeles Council

Bill Hood
Past President
Orange County Council, California

Dale Raddiff
President
Piedmont Council, California

Steve Conley
Past President
Long Beach Area Council, California

Don Wright
Past President
Los Angeles Council

Tom Morgan
President
Viking Council, Minneapolis

John Pearson
Chairman of the Board
Baltimore Council

Andy Ball
President
San Francisco Bay Area Council

Jo-Marie Dancik
Incoming President
Viking Council, Minneapolis

Ivan Genzel
Past President
Stanford Council, California

Charlton Dietz
Past President
Indianhead Council, Minnesota

John Whitehead
Past President
Greater New York Councils

Irving Schwartz
Past President
Mann Council, California

Nick Franklin
Past President
Great Southwest Council, New Mexico

Brian Thiessen
Past President
Mt. Diablo-Silverado Council, California

John Grace
President
Ventura County Council, California

Peter Barker
Past President
Los Angeles Council

R. Paul St. Amand, MD
Past President
Los Angeles Council

Bill Van Fassen
President
Boston Minuteman Council

Ron Foell
Past President
Orange County Council, California

Allen Smith
Past President
Ventura County Council, California

Howard Guthman
Past President
Indianhead Council, Minnesota

Wes Smith
Past President
Piedmont Council, California

cc: Lyle Knight, President, Western Region, BSA
Francis McAllister, President, Northeast Region, BSA
Donald Belcher, President, Central Region, BSA
Bobby Shackouls, President, Southern Region, BSA
Milt Ward, President, National Council, BSA
Roy Roberts, Executive Vice President, BSA
Roy Williams, Chief Scout Executive, BSA

Enclosures:
     Resolution Submitted at the Annual Meeting of the BSA National Council, June 1, 2001
     Background and Support for the Recommendation for BSA Policy Regarding Matters of Sexuality

    *Some personal information was redacted from the letter. No other editing was done in the transcription of this or other documents. Errors are of course possible.
 

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