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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Toni Atkins on Boy Scouts' proposal

(Editor's note: Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins is a member of the California LGBT Legislative Caucus. As a San Diego City Councilmember, she led the fight to end the Boy Scouts’ free use of Balboa Park for their headquarters because of their discriminatory policies.)

Today’s announcement by the Boy Scouts that they will no longer deny membership to gay youth is a positive step forward in eliminating discrimination from the organization; however, the continued ban on adult lesbian and gay volunteers perpetuates irrational and biased stereotypes and denies young people the adult role models they need to grow into successful adults.

I call on the Boy Scouts to reject discrimination in all its forms.

Media reports indicate that the Scouts’ policy change is based upon the results of a survey it recently sent to its supporters, asking for opinions on the discriminatory membership ban. While it is encouraging that those currently involved in Scouting recognize the unfairness of denying the Scouting experience to some boys, I encourage them to recognize that many adults, gay and straight, refuse to involve their families in the Boy Scouts while it treats some families as second class.

The Boy Scouts should seek adult volunteers who exemplify integrity and commitment to youth, regardless of their sexual orientation. A youth organization should not teach any boy that his parents are unwelcome or inferior.

Toni Atkins
Majority Leader
California Assembly