osewalrus (osewalrus) wrote,

BSA and Gays

Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is now reconsidering its absolute exclusion of gays. The proposed policy changes would delegate the decision down to the chartering organization. A necessary first step, since a huge majority of chartering organizations are anti-gay (mostly churches associated with denominations that view homosexuality as a sin).

As a committee member, I find myself wondering what changes we would need to make in policy. And please don't say "none." The critical issue for me is what to do about scouts that date, which is not a problem that has ever been considered. Specifically, do you allow scouts that date to share a tent?

Venture Scouts (which is co-ed) has certainly dealt with the scouts-that-date question, but their solution (do not let boys and girls share a tent, PERIOD) is not workable for Boy Scouts.

This is not a show stopper, but it seems to me a responsible Troop Committee ought to have a policy. Are there summer camps or other orgs that have policies with regard to allowing same sex couples who are dating to room together/camp together unchaperoned? Is anyone aware of any source for best practices for this situation?

[I am minded of the summer I worked in general counsel's office for a particular institution. We had a sexual harassment problem involving a lesbian couple that had broken up. When the supervisor transferred the harassing partner to a different department, she sued for discrimination based on sexual orientation. Part of the problem was that although there was a sexual harassment policy, there was nothing in it that dealt with same-sex sexual harassment, which exposed us to liability because we were no longer following an approved procedure. 'Twas an important learning experience for me -- the law will forgive much if you have an approved procedure and follow it.]

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