Jon Langbert’s 9 year-old son, Carter is a Cub Scout. Carter and his Dad no doubt work together on building cars for the Pinewood Derby and earning badges toward becoming a Boy Scout.
Last year, Jon helped his son’s Cub Scout Troop earn over $13,000 through a popcorn fundraiser. And in September, the pair was invited to help recruit more kids through the morning announcements at school. Just then – someone complained about Jon’s sexuality and Jon was told that he could no longer wear the Scout leader shirt or serve in any kind of leadership position – but of course it’s okay if he still raises money for them as any volunteer can do that.
According to the Dallas Morning News:
“What message does that send to my son? It says I’m a second-class citizen,” Langbert said.
Robert McTaggart, the Cubmaster for Pack 70, said Langbert will be allowed to continue as a popcorn fundraiser. That position is not considered a leadership role and can be held by a volunteer.
The Boys Scouts of America has had a long-standing policy that rejects leaders who are gay or atheist. In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the organization’s rules in a 5-4 decision.
“Our policy is not meant to serve as social commentary outside the Scout program,” said Pat Currie of the Circle 10 Council, the umbrella organization that oversees Pack 70. “We respect people who have a different opinion from us. We just hope those same people will respect our right to have a different opinion.”
Jon has contacted attorneys and seems to be planning to fight:
“My tax dollars are paying for their discrimination. And the next gay dad who wants to come along can’t. I’m not going to let them. My position is that the school cannot allow the use of their facilities to an organization that discriminates.”
The Boy Scouts of America has a long history of lawsuits with regards to their policies on gay people serving as scout leaders. While most courts have upheld their rights to admit who they want to their private organization, they have been slapped several times by legalities surrounding leasing of public land for their meetings and events. In San Diego, Philadelphia, Berkeley, the BSA has lost important cases causing them the loss of use of public spaces. And dozens of major organizations and funders including several local United Way chapters, CVS/phamacy, Chase Manhattan Bank, Levi Strauss and former BSA Advisory Council member, Steven Speilberg have withdrawn their support from the BSA over their bigoted stance.