May 3, 2013
Dear Friends of Scouting:
As you may know, on May 23, 2013, the voting members of the national organization of the Boy Scouts of America will vote on a resolution that ends discrimination against gay youth. The Greater New York Councils views this resolution as a positive step forward that is consistent with our long-standing policy and beliefs. At the heart of our mission is the well-being and positive development of the young people of New York City.
Nonetheless, we are disappointed that the resolution does not remove the prohibition against gay adult volunteers as well. In its 103 year history the Greater New York Councils’ administration has never denied membership to a youth or adult due to sexual orientation.We affirm our inclusive policy and will continue to actively work to advocate for the same national policy. After receiving input from our registered leaders and other supporters—who overwhelmingly support a change in membership policy—our board approved the following statement:
We believe that the right, moral, forward-looking policy for the BSA nationwide is to have an inclusive policy that welcomes all to our program, without regard to sexual orientation.
We strongly believe that both gay adults and youth must be welcomed in Scouting. The strength of the Boy Scout movement has been its adherence to core values while adapting to changes in society. Changes such as the desegregation of units and the inclusion of female leaders, for example, have immeasurably strengthened Scouting, and we are confident that a more inclusive policy on sexual orientation will also have a positive impact.
American attitudes about the gay members of our society have changed rapidly and are continuing to evolve, for which we are grateful. We will continue to encourage this shift in attitude and believe that the Boy Scouts will come to recognize, as we do, the importance and value of diversity to our organization. We look forward to lending our voice to the ongoing discussion about Scouting in 21st century America and will keep you informed of the latest developments. As important partners to our work, we welcome your input and continued involvement in our efforts to help ordinary kids become extraordinary adults.
We appreciate your support—now and in the future—for the 43,000 boys and girls served through our local Scout programs. Thank you.
John C. Whitehead Alair A. Townsend Ethan V. Draddy Thomas S. Bain