As counterintuitive as it may sound for an organization with such a wholesome and all-American reputation, it seems that secrecy and heavy-handed tactics are the order of the day at the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) meeting that will decide whether the BSA will change its century-old policy to expand its membership to include open and avowed homosexuals.
The meeting is taking place on Thursday at the Gaylord Hotel in Grapevine, Texas, in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area. A couple staunch gay-rights supporters have risen to key leadership positions in BSA’s national leadership and are pushing for the change. As previously reported, the change would allow open and avowed homosexuals if they are ages 17 and under but still ban those who are 18 and over, a policy that people on both sides of the issue should find incoherent.
Reports are that BSA has asked hotel staff to confiscate any literature or leaflets that are not approved by BSA’s top leadership–meaning anything that disagrees with the proposed change. These leaders organized an “informational” meeting for the voting delegates, mostly dedicated to persuading delegates to change BSA’s longstanding policy. This becomes all the more interesting since all three of Texas’ most prominent statewide leaders–Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)–have openly encouraged the Scouts to maintain the current policy.
As an example of the muzzling tactics in play, one supporter of the traditional policy went to the FedEx shop in the Gaylord to print copies of the Dallas Morning News ad presenting the reasons for maintaining the current policy. This was to counter the USA Today op-ed from BSA’s Chief Scout Executive Wayne Perry–leading the effort to change the current policy–that was distributed in the hotel.
The traditional policy supporter was suddenly confronted by Daron Smith, the PR Director for BSA, accompanied by two hotel security guards with earpieces and handheld radios, who told him he would not be allowed to distribute the literature within the hotel. It also seems that outside literature was not allowed from the other side, either, but such literature would seem unnecessary after the USA Today piece.
When confronted, the FedEx manager admitted that when he saw the handouts being printed in the shop that he contacted the hotel to tip off BSA staff so they could respond.
It’s also being reported by those onsite that media reporters are not being allowed inside the Gaylord. Anyone familiar with how lobbying works knows it should raise eyebrows when people don’t allow reporters or cameras to cover events on the ground.
The vote on the policy began at 3pm ET. Results will be announced at 6pm today.
Ken Klukowski is legal columnist for Breitbart News.