Boy Scouts

May 5, 2015; San Antonio Current

A nonprofit has raised more than $50,000 through crowdsourcing and is willing to add in another $10,000 before giving it all away to the Boy Scouts of America. What’s the catch? The scouts will get the donation only if they repeal their ban on gay parents and adults.

Scouts for Equality began its campaign back in April and is still going strong with 17 days left of fundraising. Interestingly, the way the challenge is set up allows donors to pledge their donation without having their cards charged. The donors will only be charged, and BSA will only get the money, if Boy Scouts of America President Bob Gates repeals the ban. If he doesn’t, the accumulated money will disappear.

As with most successful crowdfunding campaigns, this one probably touches several individuals with the same personal story, like Adella Freeman. A few weeks before the campaign was initiated, Freeman and her partner were prohibited from joining their son’s Boy Scout troop.

“At no time did I inform anyone of my sexual orientation, or seek to impose upon the troop. I just wanted to support my son Nick as he worked through the last few requirements for Eagle Scout,” said Freeman, who was kicked out of the BSA meeting along with her partner. “I’ve been a part of his Scouting experience since he was a Tiger Cub Scout, and our family has never been an issue until now. This is why this ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy simply doesn’t work.”

Despite her family and son having been members of BSA for eight years, the couple’s son, Nick Zamora, decided to leave the troop due to the discrimination his parents endured.

“Until the Boy Scouts change their policies, I’m done with them,” said Zamora. “My moms are my family, and my family is everything to me. If the Boy Scouts can’t accept my family for who they are, then the rank of Eagle Scout means nothing to me.”

In response to their cold dismissal, the family started a petition before the fundraising campaign began, urging their local troop president, Wayne Brooke, and BSA President Gates to reject the policy. So far, the petition has garnered over 130,000 signatures.

Of course, BSA is very familiar with this fight. Two years ago, BSA’s national council made the decision to lift its ban on gay scouts, but that policy does not currently extend to gay parents or adults who are part of the troop. Despite the SCOTUS’s 2000 decision upholding BSA’s right to allow and bar whomever it wanted from its organization, BSA will have to change…because more and more of their stakeholders insist upon it.—Shafaq Hasan