Capitol Confidential: Hoylman blasts Scouts for maintaining adult ban

 

May 24, 2013 : by Casey Seiler

Sen. Brad Hoylman, who like his predecessor Tom Duane is the only openly gay lawmaker in the chamber, says the governing body of the Boy Scouts of America needs to go beyond lifting its blanket ban on gay Scouts and scrap its continued ban on gay or lesbian adult Scout leaders.

Hoylman, a Manhattan Democrat, has introduced a bill that would deny tax-exempt status “to any organization that discriminates against any person, group, organization or other entity based on sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

Before you ask: Because of the use of the standard phrase “notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary,” the bill would not affect religious organizations.

Here’s Hoylman’s statement:

    “Yesterday, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) formally revised its membership standards, ending the organization’s ban on gay youths, but maintaining its exclusion of gay and lesbian adult leaders.

    “As the only openly-gay New York State Senator, a parent and a former Eagle Scout (Troop 70, Lewisburg, WV), I am outraged that the BSA has maintained its ban on gay adult leaders. This policy represents rank discrimination by the organization against LGBT people and is extremely painful to families like mine.

    It’s inconceivable that an organization that aims to prepare the next generation of leaders would allow gay youth to join their program, but deny them the opportunity to lead scout troops once adults.

    Moreover, this stigma is hurtful to young people, reinforcing and legitimizing the bullying and alienation of our children that has led to tragic consequences, including violence against members of the LGBT community.

    I strongly believe that the BSA is obliged by the Constitution of the United States, longstanding state and local anti-discrimination laws and the Scout Law itself to categorically end its policy of bigotry toward gays and lesbians.

    To that end, I have introduced legislation (S.5170) that would deny tax-exempt status to all youth groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or other defining characteristics. It has been more than ten years since New York State enacted the Sexual Orientation Non-Discrimination Act (SONDA), and it’s long past time for the BSA to comply and remove all barriers to participation based on sexual orientation.”