Nearly 19,000 Americans to Boy Scouts: Uphold membership policy

Close to 12,000 on petition are members of current or former Scouting families
Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Attorney sound bite:  David Cortman

An Alliance Defending Freedom employee examines nearly 19,000 signatures on petitions to the Boy Scouts of America.
— Alliance Defending Freedom has delivered a petition to the Boy Scouts of America signed by 18,724 Americans--including 11,795 who are members of current or former Scouting families or are former Scouts themselves. The petition urges BSA to “uphold the values that have defined the organization for over 100 years” and to reject any efforts to change its membership policy.

“The Boy Scouts should once again stand firm on moral principles that have successfully shaped our nation’s boys into leaders for generations,” said Senior Counsel David Cortman. “This is the expressed desire of thousands of Scouts and their families who have signed this petition. The Constitution protects the Boy Scouts’ freedom to promote the values that have defined the organization and to ensure that its leaders and members adhere to those values.”

The Alliance Defending Freedom letter accompanying the petition explains that “the best course for BSA--both for the best interest of its members and the defense against legal challenges--is for BSA to maintain its long-standing values-based membership policy.”

The letter also explains that the nearly 19,000 people who signed the petition “have taken the time to let BSA know that they are ready and willing to stand with BSA if it will make the right decision and stand firm on its values and membership policy.”

In March, Alliance Defending Freedom sent BSA leadership a letter encouraging the organization to affirm its values, warning that an inconsistently applied policy nationwide could open the door to lawsuits. The letter explained that activist groups could seize upon an inconsistent policy as supposed evidence that the policy is no longer essential to the Boy Scouts’ mission, and local councils and troops could be exposed to individual litigation.

“Boy Scouts of America was founded upon rich and timeless principles. It shouldn’t give in to intimidation or abandon its values,” added Senior Legal Counsel Erik Stanley, who is an Eagle Scout. “Its leadership should defend the Scouts’ honor and stand strong on the principles that have made the Boy Scouts one of America’s most revered institutions.”
  • Photo of signed petitions to Boy Scouts of America
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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