Gay ban claims another
latest victim of the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay members and volunteers
is also one of the highest-ranking to face the bigots' wrath so far.
Oct. 17, at a Santa Barbara, Calif., County Supervisors meeting, BSA Regional
Council Executive Director Leonard Lanzi announced that he was gay.
told the supervisors, "I am a private person and I am gay. I uphold the Boy
Scouts' policies. I would not work for the Boy Scouts if I did not know that
they save lives. I made my statement today because, as a Scout, I have to be
credible. I could not speak up without some people saying I was
meeting was held to decide if the County Supervisors should continue their
relationship with the BSA in light of its anti-gay policies. In a 5-4 decision
June 28, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the BSA's right to ban gay scouts and
scout leaders, as well as agnostics and
Lanzi's dedication to the Scouts, he was fired, or "decommissioned," after
coming out. Lanzi worked for the BSA for 14
BSA's decision to fire Lanzi may be illegal. California has non-discrimination
laws to protect employees on the basis of sexual
Dale, whose case went before the Supreme Court, was a volunteer, not an
employee. A gay student activist and long-time scout member and leader, Dale was
ousted by the BSA in 1990.
is crystal clear is that the BSA continues to enforce anti-gay bigotry. In the
words of BSA national spokesperson Greg Shields, "We don't feel an avowed
homosexual is a role model for [the BSA's founding] values, and we don't extend
roles for leadership to those people."
BSA Web site claims that "Scouting's record of inclusion is impressive by any
number of Scout troops have taken issue with that statement. In Harlem, N.Y.,
Santa Barbara and other places, troop leaders have taken steps to distance
themselves from what they term "discriminatory and bigoted"
find out more about challenges to the BSA's anti-gay stand, readers can visit
the Web site www.scoutingforall.org. The site was founded by Eagle Scout Steven
asks all visitors to the site to read page 46 of the new Boy Scout Handbook. It
says, "You should respect and defend the rights of all people."
ask yourself," Cozza says, "are the Boy Scouts of America violating their own
Scout Oath when they discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual and
question people must ask is, can society create an organization that is open to
all, that can teach children to value themselves, others and the natural world?
And is it possible under capitalism, a system that thrives on racism, women's
oppression, class oppression, and anti-lesbian/gay/bi/trans bigotry?
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