, Gloucester, MA

October 31, 2012

Letter: Kudos to young writer for decrying Scouts' stand

Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

I suppose this will be viewed as political on my part by some. Still, I wanted to commend the young man in Rockport who wrote the brave letter to the editor (“Eagle Scout decries discriminatory policy,” Oct. 21) in which he expressed his opposition to the national Boy Scouts barring young gay men from being Scouts or serving as Scout leaders. I also commend the Gloucester Daily Times for its spot on, supportive editorial.

I think a distinction does need to be made, however, between younger boys in the Cub Scouts and adolescent young men in their teens who, by that age, are often aware of their sexual orientation, but still want to participate in the great activities and programs the Scouts offer.

Why should they be denied that privilege?

I’ve heard the argument made by some that the Scouts is a Christian organization. That may well be so, but does that mean the Scouts are free to discriminate against boys and young men who are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, or even atheist?

I think younger kids, whether in the Cub Scouts or anywhere, ought to be taught to simply have respect for all people. If we practiced that approach across the board whether it applies to race, religion, ethnicity or sexual orientation, starting when kids are young, we would probably be living in a much safer and more pleasant world.

I know many on the Right accused President Obama of flip-flopping on the gay marriage issue for political gain several months ago. I, even as an Obama supporter, don’t doubt for one minute that there was some political calculation involved in that shift. But I also take the president at his word that a big factor in the shift was his having met the classmates of his two daughters who were being raised in loving families headed by gay couples.

More and more gay couples are raising kids together. There is not a community on Cape Ann where that is not happening. Those children have a right to have their families be as respected, honored, and accepted as any other child whose parents are of the opposite sex.

Simple biology doesn’t make for good parents, good parenting makes good parents — whether those parents are straight or gay.

By calling out the Boy Scouts on their discriminatory practices, the young man in Rockport not only stood up for the rights of young gay men who dream of being Eagle Scouts, he also, whether he realizes it or not, stood up for kids who are being raised by two moms or two dads who are all too often still subjected to teasing or ridicule in school, in social groups like the Scouts, and on sports teams.

The fear-mongers who try to paint the growing acceptance of and respect for gay people and gay-led families as some malevolent “homosexual agenda” are increasingly in the minority, albeit a very loud minority.

Again, kudos to the young man and the Gloucester Daily Times. You’ve both done yourselves proud.

Michael Cook

Vieques, Puerto Rico,

and Gloucester