Recently the wife of Hawaii's governor, Vicky Cayetano accepted a "Distinguished Citizen of the Year" award from the Aloha Council of the Boy Scouts. Later she wrote a letter to the Honolulu newspapers saying that she wished that the Boy Scouts were inclusive.
There was a letter to the editor of the Honolulu Advertiser saying that Vicky Cayetano should have refused the award. Then there was a letter from someone, defending Boy Scout discrimination against gays and atheists, and saying that we should support the Boy Scout's "Freedom of Choice."
Friday (8/9/02) the Honolulu Advertiser printed my letter to the editor, which follows:
Award should be taken when group is inclusive
I would have preferred that Vicky Cayetano did not accept an award from the Boy Scouts.
There is no question that the Boy Scouts of America officially, openly and explicitly discriminates against gays and atheists.
It will not allow a man known to be gay or an atheist to be a scoutmaster, and it does not permit gay or atheist boys to be members.
The Boy Scouts discriminates against children, as well as adults. This discrimination has been held by the highest court in the land to be legal.
The Boy Scouts has been strongly criticized for its discrimination and it will continue to be strongly criticized, as long as it continues to discriminate, by those who support tolerance, inclusiveness and fair treatment of all.
The Boy Scouts wants to keep its tax-exempt status, which amounts to a subsidy by all taxpayers, and it would like to continue using the facilities of our governments and other groups, many of which have policies against discrimination on the basis of religion and/or sexual orientation.
It also wants to recruit in our schools, many of which have nondiscrimination policies regarding sexual orientation and/or religion. I see conflicts and problems.
It should be noted that other groups that serve young people, such as the Girl Scouts, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Clubs and other organizations, do not see the need to discriminate in the same way as the Boy Scouts. It just shows that the Boy Scouts are backward and behind the times.
I really appreciate Cayetano's statement that she would like the Boy Scouts to be inclusive. It would have been better if she had passed on her award until the Boy Scouts are actually inclusive.
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