I spent the better part of Memorial Day weekend at the beach, in what is probably the only part of Galveston without cell phone service or wifi. Needless to say, I’ve been dying to write about quite a lot of things that have happened recently.
In re Scouts
Kuff beat me to the punch in covering the latest on the Boy Scouts membership controversy. Essentially, the organization’s head honchos voted with about 60% to allow openly gay youths–but not adults–into the organization. The original plan had allowed for localities to opt-out, which Houston’s council preemptively tried to do. However, the final policy does not allow for opt-outs, and takes effect on January 1st.
The astute will remember I am an Eagle Scout who loathes what the organization has become, but this vote is most definitely a step in the right direction. Additionally, if this causes some Southern Baptist, hardliner conservative Catholic and other Evangelical affiliated troops and councils to drop out of the organization, that is the greatest silver lining out of this. The more oldguard bigots leave, the more progressive the remainder of the organization is, and the sooner the ill-fated ban on gay adults will be gone as well.
Transparency is dead
The Texas Tribune reports that the big political transparency bill of the session, SB346, has been vetoed by the Governor. The bill proposed by Senator Seliger, colloquially known as the “dark money prohibition,” would require more transparency in in tax-exempt, politically active non-profits, compelling them to disclosure their donors. However, there would be an exemption for labor unions.
The measure passed both houses by very narrow margins, so there is no hope for an override, end of session notwithstanding. In fact, the Senate even tried to recall this bill after they passed it. “Oops.”
Kuff has more.
A number of months ago, I wrote an op-ed about how the Boy Scouts need to drag themselves into the 21st century or risk extinction (sort of like the GOP).
As a cursory Google search of my name will show, I am an Eagle Scout. It was unbelievably hard the last few years in the organization, being joined with so much hatred and so much prejudice. My particular troop was affiliated with a Reformed Synagogue, and, to be honest, they could not care less if a member or a leader was gay (or an atheist). That is mainly what got me through, and I could rest assured knowing that the majority of my city agreed with me that bigotry was wrong.
Except, evidently, they don’t. The Chron reports that the local area council for Greater Houston has voted to reaffirm their discriminatory policy expelling any “avowed homosexuals” from the BSA, either as members or leaders. The national council has recently proposed a new policy aimed at mitigating the reactionary nature of such a regulation: it would allow local councils to opt-out from expelling gay members (but not leaders), with the understanding that most kids haven’t definitively picked a sexual orientation at 11, so it would be unfair to punish them for something out of their control only happening later.
However, that is not what the Sam Houston Council did. It voted against the resolution. Even worse, the organization boasted that “75 percent of respondents” in the community approved of the board’s actions.
[expletive deleted]. I refuse to believe it. This is a progressive city, with a very ethnically and racially diverse scouting council. My guess is that this “survey” was nothing more than the old bigots’ friends, handpicked for their opinions.
Just as how the 20th century was imposed upon Southern Bigots in the scouts with the implementation of integration, the 21st century must be imposed upon their descendants with the eradication of this vile, hateful ban on gay membership.