Patrick came home from school one day early last week wearing a sticker that said something like Join Cub Scouts! Meeting on Wednesday. "Please Mama, can I be in Cub Scouts?" he asked me when I got to the daycare to pick him up.
I knew this would come up with him this year. He has two close friends who are joining Cub Scouts and I knew that he would hear about it.
"No, I'm sorry, you can't. I do have a reason, and I'll explain why when we get into the car." Cue whining, but thankfully it's a very short walk to the car.
"Why? Why can't I be in Cub Scouts?"
And I explained that the Boy Scouts have a policy of not allowing gay people to be leaders of packs (this link has several different stories--the one about Scouting is the second one). I think I said specifically Boy Scouts don't let men be leaders of a Boy Scout troop if they love another man instead of women. I said that I don't want to give money to an organization that thinks that who you love is more important than being a good person who wants to get involved. I explained that I don't want to support a group that doesn't treat people equally just because of that.
Patrick, to give him huge amounts of credit for maturity at 6 years old, thought it was a stupid policy also and did not ask again. In fact, when his friend asked if he was going to be in Boy Scouts, he simply said no. He didn't whine. He didn't think it was unfair. He recognized that homophobia isn't something that we can support and was perfectly OK with it. I could not have been prouder of my boy.
I know a huge number of families who have their sons in Boy Scouts. That's their decision. I personally won't knowingly support a homophobic organization. That means that I still love your family, I still love your children, but I won't be buying popcorn from you even though I'll buy Girl Scout cookies from your daughters. If we have a daughter someday, she can certainly join Girl Scouts (if you read the above article it summarizes the differences in the Boy Scout and Girl Scout policies with regards to the sexual orientation and religious views of leaders).
I'm sad that the boys won't be able to be in Boy Scouts. Jason was a Scout for a long time and I know he loved it--he talks very fondly about their camping trips and other activities. I was a Girl Scout for a long time and it was great. I know the boys would really enjoy it, but I can't condone homophobia.