1) NATIONAL POLICY ON GAYS AND LESBIANS
Girl Scouts: The Girl Scouts of the USA’s LGBT-inclusive policies have drawn the ire of right-wing groups. “Girl Scouts of the USA and its local councils and troops value diversity and inclusiveness and do not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability,” reads a statement on the organization’s blog. To an ultraconservative group called Family Watch International, this amounts to “special rights based on sexual orientation or gender identity.” On its website, the group claims, “Girl Scouts of the USA is increasingly promoting LGBT issues to girls by featuring prominent LGBT rights activists as role models at Girl Scout events, in Girl Scout materials, and by referring girls to websites that aggressively promote special LGBT rights.” Among the “role models” right-wingers find objectionable: Houston mayor Annise Parker, an out lesbian, whose city hosted the Girl Scouts’ 2011 national convention. A Houston Chronicle editorial countered the conservative “grumblings” by saying, “It’s startling to realize that an event as wholesomely routine as the mayor’s welcoming a Girl Scout convention to town could ever count as an act of bravery. But it does – and it’s the kind of brave inclusiveness that the Girl Scouts have always stood for.”
Boy Scouts: For more than 30 years, the Boy Scouts of America has in some form banned gays from the organization. A 1978 position statement signed by the BSA’s president said, “We do not believe that homosexuality and leadership in Scouting are appropriate.” The BSA reaffirmed its position in 1991 after James Dale, an adult gay scout in New Jersey, came out in a newspaper story. The BSA revoked his membership, and Dale sued, claiming the organization had violated his state’s public accommodations law. The case made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 2000 ruled 5-4 to that the BSA, as a private organization, had right to set its own policies and membership criteria. Last June the BSA reaffirmed its ban on gay members, staff, and leaders. The current policy reads, “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
2) POLICY UPDATES WITHIN THE LAST YEAR
Girl Scouts: In October 2011, a Colorado Girl Scouts troop decided to admit a 7-year-old transgender girl, Bobby Montoya, after initially rejecting the child. The statewide organization released a statement saying, “If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout. In this case, an associate delivering our program was not aware of our approach. She contacted her supervisor, who immediately began working with the family to get the child involved and supported in Girl Scouts. We are accelerating our support systems and training so that we’re better able to serve all girls, families and volunteers.”
Boy Scouts: The BSA’s reaffirmation of its ban on “avowed homosexual” members and leaders came after a two-year review by a committee of “volunteers and professional leaders” with “a diversity of perspectives and opinions,” according to a statement released on BSA’s website. chief scout executive Bob Mazzuca said in the press release, “While a majority of our membership agrees with our policy, we fully understand that no single policy will accommodate the many diverse views among our membership or society.”
Girl Scouts: Corporations and foundations that support the Girl Scouts include Alcoa, AT&T, Coca-Cola, MetLife, the Jessie Ball duPont Fund, and Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, according to the organization’s website.
Boy Scouts: About 70 % of BSA units are sponsored by religious organizations, with about half of these units being Mormon-backed, according to the Scouts’ website. About 30% of units are sponsored by civic and educational groups.
Many corporate-backed foundations have donated millions to BSA despite internal policies against giving to groups that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. In 2010, the most recent year for which information was available, 23 of the top 50 corporate foundations gave at least $10,000 each to the Scouts for a combined total of $3.6 million. The Intel Foundation, the top donor that year, gave $700,000; the Verizon Foundation donated more than $300,000; and the corporate giving arms of Wells Fargo, U.S. Bank, and Bank of America each chipped in more than $100,000.
— President Obama on why Mitt Romney’s record in the private sector matters (via barackobama)
Rep. Richard Hanna (R-N.Y.), co-sponsor of the Equal Rights Amendment, gave women an unexpected piece of advice: Give your money to Democrats.
“I think these are very precarious times for women, it seems. So many of your rights are under assault,” he told the crowd of mostly women. “I’ll tell you this: Contribute your money to people who speak out on your behalf, because the other side — my side — has a lot of it. And you need to send your own message. You need to remind people that you vote, you matter, and that they can’t succeed without your help.”
I love how the GOP is so divided that their own members are turning on them. Sorry, Republicans, you can’t repeatedly stomp on 50% of the population’s rights and expect them to cheer you on.
This isn’t really surprising, if you consider the geography. As someone who’s lived in New York and Texas, people unfamiliar with New York politics have to remember that for the longest time, a New York Republican has been a very different creature than a Republican elsewhere. The Tea Party has changed this (possibly; a lot of the 2010 backlash was against inept Democrats rather than for conservative values), but in New York, the Republicans are traditionally the opposition party of the New York Democrats, rather than the New York wing of the National Republican party. Think of the most prominent Republican New Yorkers of the last thirty years or so:
Gov. George Pataki - pro-choice, pro gay-rights
State Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno - pro-choice, since retirement has urged his party to support gay rights.
U.S. Senator Alfonse D’Amato - pro-choice, pro-gay rights when it wasn’t even fashionable among Democrats: in 1993, D’Amato was one of only three Republicans to vote in favor of allowing gays to serve openly in the U.S. military. In 1996, he was among the minority of Republicans to vote to extend federal protections against employment discrimination to gays and lesbians.
New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani - While he ran headlined as a Republican, people forget that in both of his successful campaigns, he ran as a Liberal, not a Conservative. The Conservatives refused to endorse him based on his positions on affirmative action, gay rights, gun control, school prayer and tuition tax credits, which of all aligned with the Liberal party.
It’s easy to forget some of this stuff, because as the National GOP as swung so far to the right, New York Republicans have, in large part been left behind. People like Giuliani and Bloomberg, who are truly Republicans of convenience (the Democratic primary for New York Mayor is one of the most rat-fucked races in the nation, and has been for at least the last fifty years) cannot make it through national Republican primaries. But, on a state-wide (or city-wide - with 8.5 million residents, if the incorporated city alone - not the metro area, chose to become a state, it would be the twelfth most populous state in the Union - just ahead of Virginia) basis, Republicans who are not pro-choice haven’t been able to get elected since the 1980s and with the passage of the gay marriage law, it looks like Republicans who oppose gay rights will no longer be viable candidates for state-wide or city-wide positions. In both legalizing abortion and gay marriage, it has been Republican assemblymen who have cast the deciding votes.