May 13 2013 12:00 AM

Lansing Association for Human Rights to host panel about the Boy Scouts’ ban on gay members

Boy Scouts of America emblem

Monday, May 13 — The president of the Lansing Association for Human Rights says the Boy Scouts of America is going only “halfway” with a proposed policy that would partially lift the BSA’s ban on gay scouts.

“Certainly, we would wish and hope the BSA would not take a halfway position but go the whole route and allow gay, bisexual and transgender people to participate fully and as they go on to be troop leaders,” said Penny Gardner, president of LAHR.

Next week, the BSA National Council, which is comprised of roughly 1,400 members, is expected to vote on a resolution that was introduced on April 19 that would permit gay scouts but continue to ban gay leaders.

To start a community discussion leading up to the vote, LAHR will host a town hall meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Edgewood United Church, 469 N. Hagadorn Road in East Lansing. The town hall will feature a panel of speakers on the BSA ban and the upcoming policy vote.

Since it was founded in 1910, the BSA has banned openly gay scouts and leaders from joining its ranks. That may be changing soon — but only partially. If approved by the National Council, the resolution would take effect Jan. 1, 2014.

Gardner said there has been a lot of “lollygagging” by the BSA in lifting the ban over the past year. She believes the resolution only goes “halfway” toward ending discrimination in the Boy Scouts because it continues to ban gay leaders and discourages gay scouts who may want to eventually become leaders.

Gardner said the panel consists of an Eagle Scout, the mother of an Eagle Scout and a Skype interview with a father and son who are biking across the country to be in Irving, Texas when the vote goes down.