Mary Anderson & Cate Readling

We are writing as mothers. As moms, the future and well-being of our sons is one of our top priorities. 

That is why the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults has been so especially painful for us. Whether our Eagle Scout son had his scout membership unjustly taken away because of who he is as a human being or we have been cruelly denied the opportunity to support our son in scouting because we happen to be gay ourselves, or we have seen the pain of prejudice on other boys and adults because of this ugly policy, we know we cannot stand by and do nothing.

And let’s be frank — moms make decisions, moms act, moms get things done. We decide whether our sons get involved in Cub Scouts in the first place. We support them as they rise through the ranks. And when we see something is wrong, we make it right.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of America’s only national civil organizations to still proactively discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals. But we were thrilled when Robert Gates, president of the Boy Scouts of America, recently called upon the BSA to end the ban on gay adults. We strongly agree that the ban on gay adults must be lifted, both for the future of the organization and the future of the young men and families who are the soul of the Boy Scouts.

However, stating that the ban should be lifted and actually getting it done are two different things. That is why we are working with thousands of parents, leaders, youth, current Scouts and former Scouts from across the country to pressure the BSA to end this ban once and for all. We are working with Scouts for Equality, a national organization over 25,000 strong, including 10,000 Eagle Scouts, calling on the BSA to lift the ban now.

How do we get this done? We need to let our local leadership know we will not tolerate discrimination here in our own community. We have organized an open and accepting Cub Scout Pack here in the village, Pack 16 at First United Church of Oak Park, to demonstrate that inclusiveness is a living value of the Scouts. And we are calling on our local Boy Scout organization, the Pathway to Adventure Council, to lift the Boy Scouts of America’s ban on gay adults and implement a non-discrimination policy.

Come join us. Let’s teach our sons and daughters that reciting values is not enough, but you have to live and act upon them. Visit our Facebook page, oakparkscoutsforequality, to learn how you can help — write a letter to the Council or the BSA, march with us in the Pride Parade, wear an Inclusive Scout Award. 

And register your membership at www.scoutsforequality.org. If we work together, we can teach the Boy Scouts how to live their values and be inclusive of all families.

Mary Anderson and Cate Readling are co-leaders of Oak Park Scouts for Equality. Anderson is the mother of a Webelo Scout and Readling is the mother of two Webelos and a Bear Scout.

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