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Desk of Congressman Gary Ackerman

Recently, 26 members of Congress urged the Boy Scouts of America to end its discriminatory policy of not accepting gays and lesbians in a letter sent to the Chief Scout Executive of the organization.

The correspondence, initiated by U.S. Representatives Gary Ackerman (D-NY) and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), was sent in response to the Boy Scouts’ rejection of Cate and Elizabeth Wirth, a couple in Vermont who were told they could not volunteer for their 10-year-old son’s Cub Scout pack after it was revealed that the women are lesbians. In explaining the Boy Scouts’ national policy of excluding gays and lesbians as volunteers, their district director suggested that the Wirths would “push their lifestyle on the boys.”

“Regrettably, the current, discriminatory policy of the Boy Scouts of America has denied opportunities for young scouts, community-oriented citizens, and loving parents,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter to Robert Mazzuca, the Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “As you celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, it is long past time that the Boy Scouts finally provide the opportunity for all Scouts, Leaders, and volunteers, to share in the joys of scouting, regardless of sexual orientation.”

Ackerman, a proud Eagle Scout, continues to salute the tireless contributions of Scouts from throughout the nation but contends that the discriminatory policy of the organization must change.

“I’ll always be a proud Eagle Scout, but this discriminatory policy must end” said Ackerman. “Rejecting a Cub Scout’s mothers from volunteering just because of their sexual orientation doesn’t comply with the Scout law I recited at Scout meetings.”

“Scouting is a proud and honorable tradition in this country, but discrimination is not,” said Congresswoman Baldwin, Co-Chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus. “Children with same sex parents deserve the same opportunities to have their parents involved in their scouting experience as their classmates do and I urge the Boy Scouts of America to end this discriminatory policy,” Baldwin said.

The letter was signed by a total of 26 members of Congress.