Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Friday, February 22, 2013

Straight Former Boy Scout Starts Petition Supporting LGBT Youth

Posted By on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 at 8:30 AM


Eddie Kurtz, a straight former Boy Scout, has started a petition urging the California Legislature to pass Senate Bill 323, which would end tax breaks for youth groups that discriminate against gays, including the Boy Scouts of America.

So far some 9,000 Californians have signed the petition, which is one of many started by former Boy Scouts around the country asking the Boy Scouts of America to end its policy banning gays.

See Also: Ryan Andresen's Eagle Scout Application Denied Because of His "Avowed Homosexuality"

Earlier this week, state Sen. Ricardo Lara (D-Los Angeles) sponsored SB 323, dubbed the Youth Equality Act, hoping to give the Boy Scouts a nudge in the right direction by eliminating tax exemptions for groups that openly discriminate against gays.

Currently, organizations that discriminate against youth based on sexual orientation or gender identity still get sales and corporate tax exemptions -- a provision that is intended to encourage acting in the public interest, Lara says.

Here's what Kurtz, who also serves as director of campaigns for Courage Campaign, has to say about that:

I grew up in the Boy Scout tradition. I started out as a Cub Scout, transitioned through Webelos, and ended my Boy Scout journey as a Life Scout, one rank below Eagle. My closest friends were other scouts. Scouting stands for the finest qualities of humanity: self-reliance, creativity, and an appreciation of nature. Most of all, we were taught how to act as responsible, respectful citizens. This is why the Boy Scouts' continued policy of excluding members based on their sexual orientation is so upsetting to me. It flies in the face of the very values that the scouting tradition professes to teach. As a straight ally, I can't sit idle while the current leaders of the Boy Scouts disgrace this once-proud American institution with their personal bigotry.

The bill was introduced after the Boy Scouts of America last month put off making any decisions about whether to change its policy and start accepting gays into its organization. The issue over Boy Scouts and gays was pushed back into the spotlight last year after an East Bay teen was denied his Eagle Scout award when troop leaders learned he was gay.

Ryan Andresen, a Moraga resident, had completed all his obligations, including building a tolerance wall at a local school, to earn the top honor a boy scout could receive. His story made national news, and he went on the Ellen Show to tell his story.

Andresen has yet to get his Eagle Scout honor that he rightfully deserves.

If reading all this upsets you, feel free to sign the petition supporting Lara's bill.

  • Pin It

About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert was the Online News Editor for SF Weekly from 2010 to 2015. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"