The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will accept openly gay youths starting on New Year’s Day on Wednesday, a historic change that has prompted the organization to ponder a host of potential complications — ranging from policies on tentmates and showers, to whether Scouts can march in gay pride parades.
Yet despite their “be prepared” approach, BSA leaders are rooting for the change to be a non-event.
“My hope is there will be the same effect this Jan. 1 as the Y2K scare,” said Brad Haddock, a BSA National Executive Board member who chairs the policy implementation committee, referring to 2000, when fears of digital clock chaos proved unfounded.
Some churches are dropping their sponsorship of Scout units because of the policy and some families are switching to a conservative alternative called Trail Life USA. However, massive defections have not occurred and most major sponsors, including the Roman Catholic and Mormon churches, are maintaining ties.
“There hasn’t been a whole lot of fallout,” said Haddock, a lawyer from Wichita, Kansas. “If a church said they wouldn’t work with us, we’d have a church right down the street say: ‘We’ll take the troop.’”
The policy was approved in May with support from 60 percent of the 1,400 voting members of the BSA’s National Council. The vote followed bitter nationwide debate and was accompanied by an announcement that the BSA would continue to exclude openly gay adults from leadership positions.
Under the policy, youths cannot be barred from the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts or Venturers program solely on the basis of their sexual orientation. However, gay Scouts will face some limitationis.
“Any sexual conduct, whether heterosexual or homosexual, by youth of Scouting age is contrary to the virtues of Scouting,” one BSA document says. “No member may use Scouting to promote or advance any social or political position or agenda, including on the matter of sexual orientation.”
Trying to anticipate friction, the BSA has distributed question-and-answer documents related to the policy. For example: Can a Scout march in uniform in a gay pride parade? No, the BSA says.
It is also encouraging units to provide greater individual privacy, including moving away from the tradition of group showers. Sleeping arrangements also are addressed, with specific decisions left to unit leaders.
Haddock said “isolated pockets” of problems are likely to surface, but overall, he expects adult leaders will be able to defuse any potential conflicts.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS: Several of the PLA fighter jets that crossed the median line of the Strait came within 68km of Hsinchu, drawing warnings from Taiwan, the ministry said At least 18 Chinese military aircraft yesterday flew into the nation’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ) on the second day of a US delegation’s visit, the Ministry of National Defense said, adding that the military responded by deploying an air defense missile system to monitor their activities. A delegation led by US Undersecretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Keith Krach on Thursday started a three-day visit to Taiwan. The ministry from Thursday started publicizing the actions of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in Taiwan’s ADIZ on its Web site and Twitter. According to ministry reports, 18 PLA aircraft
TWO CASES: The five allegedly conspired with conglomerates, threatening the nation’s governance and subverting the rules of ethical conduct, a deputy chief prosecutor said Taipei prosecutors yesterday charged three legislators and one former lawmaker with contravening the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例) in a case linked to former Pacific Distribution Investment Co (太平洋流通) chairman Lee Heng-lung’s (李恆隆) battle with the Far Eastern Group (遠東集團) over ownership of the Pacific SOGO Department Store (太平洋崇光百貨) chain, while independent Legislator Chao Cheng-yu (趙正宇) was indicted in a separate case involving two funeral services companies and a plot of land in a national park. Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators Chen Chao-ming (陳超明) and Sufin Siluko (廖國棟), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Su Chen-ching (蘇震清) and former New Power Party legislator
PENGHU INSPECTION: Taiwan cannot let its enemies strut around in its airspace, Tsai said, one day after a Chinese spokesman denied a median line exists in the Taiwan Strait Following China’s assertion on Monday that there is no “median line” in the Taiwan Strait, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday pledged to defend the nation’s airspace during a visit to an air force base in Penghu, saying that Taiwan cannot allow others to flex their military muscle in its territorial airspace. Tsai praised the “heroic performance” of the pilots of the Indigenous Defense Fighters who have been intercepting Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force planes in recent days. “I have a lot of confidence in you. As soldiers of the Republic of China [ROC], how could we let enemies strut
Swedish Member of Parliament Hampus Hagman is pushing for changing the name of the nation’s trade office in Taipei to signal improved relations with “Asia’s perhaps foremost democracy.” Hagman on Wednesday last week proposed renaming the Swedish Trade and Invest Council to “Sweden’s Office in Taipei,” following similar changes by other nations. The Swedish Trade and Invest Council, part of Business Sweden, is owned by the Swedish government and Swedish industry. Taiwan and Sweden share important values such as respect for democracy, human rights, the rule of law and freedom of speech, Hagman said in the motion, adding that the two nations