Council may bar Scouts’ request on principle


#1

timesargus.com/article/20140616/THISJUSTIN/706169942

sevendaysvt.com/OffMessage/archives/2014/07/01/boy-scouts-bow-out-from-montpelier-parade-over-national-policy-on-gay-leaders

Bizarre. The Montpelier, Vermont City Council decided to remove a local Boy Scout troop’s longstanding vendor agreement to sell bottled water at the city Independence Day Celebration, because city councilman Thierry Guerlain disagreed with the BSA’s policy on allowing avowed homosexual adults as adult leaders.

Understandably, the troop then declined to clean up the park after the event - another long-standing commitment, of which Guerlain was unaware. Guerlain reacted angrily, as he felt the Scouts should still agree to pick up the litter left after the event by citizens, despite being told that they were unwelcome at the event itself.

Guerlain said that he had “he hoped Montpelier would make national news with a position not to allow any group that discriminates to operate with the city’s stamp of approval,” but it didn’t turn out as well as he had hoped. Guerlain, who seems to be unfamiliar with where the BSA is headquartered, said “I hope that we don’t approve (the vendor requests), and I hope that it makes national press, and I hope that the message gets to Washington that we said no,” said Guerlain. “We’re not going to let a group that openly discriminates against gays sell water at our parade. … It’s difficult, it’s uncomfortable, but I think it’s our chance to do the right thing.”

No word on whether Guerlain also prohibits any Catholic, or for that matter Islamic, organizations from selling food at the event.

Associated General Contractors of Vermont pulled its longstanding donation of safety vests and cones from the event, citing dissatisfaction with the city council’s treatment of the Boy Scouts. Casella Waste Systems and the local sheriff stepped in with safety equipment to fill that gap. City councillors and other community volunteers are stepping up to fill the shoes left behind by the Scouts, said Ashley Witzenberger, the executive director of the event’s organizer, Montpelier Alive."

“They went from teaching the boys discrimination to also teaching them spite,” said Guerlain, who called the decision not to volunteer at the event a “spiteful move” on the part of local Boy Scout leaders. [Translated, that means “*You are not welcome at my event, but how dare you refuse to pick up our trash afterwards!”} “I’m surprised that we’re even discussing the fact that it’s more important to get the trash picked up conveniently by the Boy Scouts than to respect the civil rights of lesbian and gay parents who are disinvited from the Boy Scouts.”

This probably didn’t work out to be the kind of Teachable Moment that Guerlain planned.


#2

Looks like the good councilman wasn’t prepared for the ramifications of his rash action. Well he got the publicity he was seeking.


#3

Even though it looks like your post is the text of an article, it doesn’t seem to match exactly the linked article. I take it some of that is your commentary?


#4

Oh I see. So the Boy Scouts are too “hateful” to sell water at the parade but their not too “hateful” to pick up trash. It almost seems like they wanted slaves.


#5

People are getting just ridiculous with all this stuff. Shame on all of them.


#6

I…I just don’t even know where to start. Someone call Jack Nicholson and Nurse Ratched.


#7

Interestingly, Guerlain’s actions were discriminatory against the local Boy Scouts. Under his policy", Montpelier should not be allowed to “operate with the city’s stamp of approval.” :shrug:

Jon


#8

The Boy Scouts are not a protected class, and a local government choosing not to grant their approval of their discriminatory practices is not unlawful or immoral discrimination. Under your logic, if a local KKK were to be denied the ability to “operate with the city’s stamp of approval,” the city would be guilty of wrongful discrimination as well. The attempt to turn those who discriminate against gay people into the victims is a transparent and ineffective strategy.


#9

Ahh, and here is the issue: are the Boy Scouts being discriminatory? The Boy Scouts as an organization hold to a moral code, and have done so since, effectively, their beginning. That code is not discriminatory in a pejorative sense. It, in many ways, reflects the historic Christian ethics, still held by orthodox Christian communions, that the Boy Scouts are built on.
The city councilman, by claiming some authority to determine that the BSA’s longstanding code of ethics is discriminatory is, in itself discriminatory, and his words and accusations make his discrimination pejorative.

The comparison of the Boy Scouts to the KKK is specious at best, and inflammatory at worst. The KKK has advocated, and in fact carried out violent and heinous acts against others. The BSA has no such history. To use such a strawman is a transparent and ineffective strategy.

Jon


#10

The Boy Scouts have every right to discriminate… as does the KKK. The city has the right to distance themselves. It’s pretty simple.


#11

A couple of other comments.

Every American is of the protected class, that protected class as falling under the constitutional rights of speech and religious expression. They are also granted the protection of equal access. So, in fact, by restricting their participation in the event simply because of their membership rules, which are related to their religious and moral beliefs, could be unlawful under equal access protections for all citizens.
Further, participation in the Independence Day event by the Boy Scouts can in no way be construed as the city’s endorsement of their code of ethics.

Jon


#12

So, you are saying the city is being discriminatory. Agreed.

But the continued attempt to link the BSA to the KKK completely undermines any validity your argument may have.

Jon


#13

For jurisprudence purposes, not everyone falls into a protected class… and you know that. But, if you want to argue the equal access aspect, I’ll gladly accept your argument the day that every gay person is given equal access to marriage.


#14

Every gay person has always had the same right to marriage as everyone else. How is it society’s problem if they don’t happen to like the choices?


#15

I agree that the city is discriminating… I just think that it’s justified discrimination, and is well within their rights.

I’m not comparing the BSA to the KKK in ideology, but I am comparing them insofar as they are both groups that are considered politically divisive. I’m in no way saying that the extent of their discrimination is similar.


#16

Wrong.


#17

When would it have been illegal for a gay man to marry a woman to whom he was not related, who was not already married, and who was of age?


#18

That’s not EQUAL access. It’s also a tiresome argument that has been rebuffed more times than I care to count. It’s the same argument used to justify bans of interracial marriage.


#19

Who’s the one being spiteful? Punishing children for the “sins” the national organization.


#20

It’s exactly the same access as any other man, regardless of race. How is identical not equal?

The comparison with interracial marriage bans has also been rebuffed “more times than I care to count”.


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