Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Contact the Boy Scouts About the Proposed Homosexual Policy Change!

April 3, 2013


Contact the Boy Scouts About the Proposed Homosexual Policy Change!

As many of you know, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is in the closing days of a massive outreach effort to gauge reactions to the proposed policy change to allow openly homosexual boys and men to participate in scouting.  BSA leadership says they have sent out nearly 1.5 million questionnaires to volunteers and scout alumni posing some hypothetical questions about allowing openly homosexual individuals to participate in scouting.

We have seen reports indicating that in at least some areas of the country, the response rate has been relatively low.

We and others who have looked at the questionnaire believe it is not adequate to accurately gauge the concern that may be felt by members of the scouting community because it does not inform the respondent of all the implications of changing this policy.  It focuses almost entirely on the religious or ethical concerns that have been expressed about the policy, and does not look at the serious implications it would have for the health and welfare of vulnerable scouts who may be questioning their own sexual orientation as part of the normal maturation process.

We have laid these concerns out in more detail with some documentation in the letter Family Watch sent to the national scouts back in February.  I have attached that letter below.

In summary, the critical point is that no credible research exists to support the commonly held belief that homosexuals are "born that way."  Instead, there is overwhelming and growing evidence that same-sex attraction is caused largely by environmental factors and the experiences of boys who, for a variety of reasons, are particularly vulnerable to developing it.  Clearly, the scouting program can be a particularly strong influence in a young man's life because it is so effective at teaching not just values and morals, but correct principles and survival skills as well.

If the BSA organization allows openly homosexual men to be scout leaders, they would be setting them up as acceptable role models.  This change in leadership could be a significant factor in whether some of these vulnerable young men develop same-sex attraction with all the documented mental and physical health consequences that result from acting out on that attraction.  Allowing openly homosexual boys to be scouts can have a similar influence on some of their fellow scouts. 

It is not clear whether BSA's national leadership has considered the health and welfare implications this proposed policy change could have on vulnerable scouts.  We have asked whether the leadership has considered it, but they refuse to answer.  From their recent statements about the proposed policy change, and especially from conversations we have had with scouting volunteers and professionals, it appears to us that they have not fully assessed the impact of their proposed policy. 

If you are involved in scouting and received a questionnaire from the national scout office, we urge you to answer it.  If you have already returned your questionnaire, or you are a concerned parent, grandparent or just a friend of scouting, then we urge you to contact the national scout office before the listening period closes on Friday, April 5th and express your concern about the apparent lack of any health assessment the proposed policy would have on vulnerable scouts.

In brief, we suggest that you urge BSA not to adopt this proposed policy change without full, comprehensive and open consideration of the health and welfare implications of allowing openly homosexual men and boys to participate in scouting.  You can send you comments to the scouts here.  You may wish to include some or all of the additional specific concerns we have outlined in our letter to the scouts attached below. 

This is an important issue—one that has significant implications for the health and welfare of countless scouts.  Because of the policy's fundamental implications for the historic mission of scouting, it has serious implications for the future of scouting as well.  There has never been a time when we have had a greater need for the kind of strong young men that scouting has proven so effective in developing.

It would be a major loss if scouting is severely damaged by this poorly researched proposed policy.

Sharon Slater
Sharon Slater



5 February 2013
Wayne Brock, Chief Scout Executive
The National Boy Scouts of America
1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane
Irving, Texas 75015-2079

Dear Mr. Brock,

We are concerned with the potentially serious health problems that young men in the scouting program could incur as a result of the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) changing its policy to allow councils to admit openly homosexual individuals to participate and serve as scout leaders.  Our concern is based on a growing body of scientific research and clinical experiences relating to homosexuality that has been carefully examined by accredited health professionals.

Family Watch International is a non-religious organization that takes its family policy positions based on social science data.  We have considerable policy expertise on the health issues surrounding homosexual behavior.  As the American College of Pediatricians (ACOP) recently warned the BSA, significant research strongly indicates that presenting homosexuality to developing boys as a healthy lifestyle (as BSA's proposed policy change would do by allowing some councils to have openly gay men serve as role models within the scouting program) can put vulnerable boys at a much greater risk for sexual addictions and mental and physical problems that are difficult to overcome.

Family Watch is deeply concerned that neither the research relating to the homosexual lifestyle (in particular the development and treatment of homosexuality), nor the clinical experiences of professionals who are warning the BSA, have been taken into account in the debate over this possible policy change.  We urge the BSA to fully examine this research before taking a vote on the proposed change to the BSA's longstanding policy that protects boys from homosexual influences.

The most important fact that should be driving this debate is the science and clinical experience showing that homosexuality is not innate and immutable.1  Homosexual individuals are not "born that way."  Rather, we know that homosexuality is the result of a complex interaction of some likely genetic predisposition (often referred to as the "nature" component) and a variety of environmental and experiential factors (often categorized as the "nurture" component).  Solid research shows that environmental factors play a major role in the development of same-sex attraction.2 

Several very large-scale studies of identical twins clearly demonstrate that homosexuality is not solely determined by genetics.  Since by definition identical twins have exactly the same genetic material, if homosexuals were "born that way," then when one identical twin is homosexual the other should be as well.  Yet these studies of identical twins find that in only 11 percent to 20 percent of cases are both identical twins homosexual.3  This is considered a low heritability factor and suggests that, at most, some individuals have a genetic predisposition to be especially vulnerable to the nurture factors in the development of homosexuality.4

Further conclusive evidence that homosexuality is not innate is evidenced by the reality that some people with unwanted same-sex attraction can and do change their sexual orientation.5  If homosexuality was in fact innate and immutable, like skin color, this would not be possible.  However, since most homosexuals have been erroneously convinced that same-sex attraction is genetic, cannot be changed and thus they have no choice but to act out sexually on their attraction, allowing homosexuals to serve as leaders and putting them in positions where they can perpetuate these false beliefs to developing boys is irresponsible and potentially harmful.

Because various nurture factors contribute to the development of homosexuality, the proposed policy change can profoundly affect scouts who may be questioning their sexual identity and thus are vulnerable to developing and acting out on same-sex attraction.  Many youth question their sexual orientation as a part of the normal maturation process.6  Homosexual scout leaders likely would be open about their sexual orientation and may even promote it to boys as genetically fixed and healthy, which could encourage some vulnerable young men to self identify as gay.

We are gravely concerned that the BSA has not taken into account the many well documented negative physical and mental health consequences of engaging in homosexual behavior.  For example, after reviewing more than 125 years of scientific research and clinical experience, the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) concluded that, as a group, homosexuals suffer about three times more physical and mental health problems than the heterosexual population.7Suicide is the most serious health consequence of the homosexual lifestyle, particularly for adolescents, and research has shown that for every year a young boy delays identifying as a homosexual, his suicide risk drops by 20 percent.8

Here is the central question that should be asked of those promoting a fundamental policy change:  "If you knew that adopting the proposed policy could be harmful to some young scouts, would you still be advocating for this change?"  If those who are advocating the policy change had even a basic understanding of the multiple factors that contribute to the development of same-sex attraction  and the negative outcomes for boys who adopt a homosexual identity and lifestyle, we believe they might reconsider changing the BSA's longstanding policy.

We applaud the essential role the scouting program has played in helping millions of boys grow into strong and responsible men. However, if implemented, the proposed policy change will seriously damage the ability of scouting as an institution to continue to play its traditional and important role in shaping the character of our nation's boys and promoting their health and well-being.

We strongly urge the BSA to fully examine the social science data relating to the development of same-sex attraction, especially the findings relating to boys of scouting age, before voting allowing any vote that could change the BSA's longstanding policy that protects boys from these influences.  Please do not hesitate to contact with any questions or for more information.

Sharon Slater

Sharon Slater
President, Family Watch International



1.  What Research Shows, Journal of Human Sexuality, Vol. 1,

2.  Note for example this statement by Dr. Fancis S. Collins, a world renowned geneticist who headed the Human Genome Project. "An area of particularly strong public interest is the genetic basis of homosexuality. Evidence from twin studies does in fact support the conclusion that heritable factors play a role in male homosexuality. However, the likelihood that the identical twin of a homosexual male will also be gay is about 20 percent (compared with 2-4 percent of males in the general population), indicating that sexual orientation is genetically influenced but not hardwired by DNA, and that whatever genes are involved represent predispositions, not predeterminations." Collins, Francis S. (2006). The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, New York: Free Press.

3.  Bailey, J. M., et al. (2000). Genetic and Environmental Influences on Sexual Orientation and its Correlates in an Australian Twins Sample. Journal of Personality and Psychology, 78, 524-536. 

4.  Supra note 2.

5.  This quote from one of the leading medical textbooks, Essential Psychpathology and Its Treatment, summarizes the current science with respect to the nature of homosexuality and its treatability: "While many mental health care providers and professional associations have expressed considerable skepticism that sexual orientation could be changed through psychotherapy and also assumed that therapeutic attempts at reorientation would produce harm, recent empirical evidence demonstrates that homosexual orientation can indeed be therapeutically changed in motivated clients and that reorientation therapy does not produce emotional harm." Maxmen, J. S., et al. (2009). Essential Psychopathology and Its Treatment, 3rd Edition. New York: Norton and Co.

6.  Remafedi ,G., Resnick, M., Blum, R., Harris, L. (1992). Demography of sexual orientation in adolescents. Pediatrics, 89, 714-721.

7.   What Research Shows, Journal of Human Sexuality, Vol. 1,; See "Top 10 Things Gay Men Should Discuss with their Healthcare Provider," from The Gay & Lesbian Medical Association, providers.pdf.

8.  Remafedi, G., Farrow,  J. A., Deisher, R. W., (1991). Risk factors for attempted suicide in gay and bisexual youth.  Pediatrics 87, 869-875.




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