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Opening Arguments

The straight dope

John O'Connor is executive director of Equality California and thinks the Boy Scouts have discriminated against gays in ways that hurt youths and families. Rob Schwarzwalder is a senior vice president of the Familty Research Council and has supported the Scouts' traditional opposition to admitting homosexuals. Despite their differences, they agree on one thing. The organization's new policy sucks.


The proposal says, in essence, that homosexuality is acceptable until a boy turns 18. Then, when he comes of age, he's prevented from remaining in Scouts because the BSA says it wants to retain its policy against open homosexual Scout leaders. This proposal is incoherent and, sadly, an affront to the notion that Scouts are 'morally straight.' If nothing else, does not "straightness" mean consistency?


The Boy Scouts of America's explicit policy of discrimination against gay people hurts youth and families. And the policy update they proposed last week is abysmal. To propose a policy that allows for gay youth, but excludes gay adults, exposes a colossal magnitude of cowardice, hypocrisy and narrow-minded bigotry on the part of the BSA. While I haven't given up hope, I am deeply disappointed.

I think "incoherent" about covers it. Either gays should be welcomed as part of Scouting or they should not. Who in the world came up with the idea of allowing gay Scouts but not gay Scout leaders? This proposal is a guaranteed way to offend and anger both camps. Certainly wouldn't want a child of mine exposed to such muddled thinking.

The case should be instructive to those who thoughtlessly call for "compromise" and "reaching across the aisle" on every hot-button issue of the day. Sometimes the opposing views are so incompatible that there really is no compromise -- one side or the other has to prevail. How do you know when there is such an issue? When the proposed compromise is absurd on its face.