Town Leader Asks for Boy Scout Ban

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mitch Goldblatt, a selectman from Orange, has proposed to not allow the Boy Scouts to use town facilities for their camping event due to the national organization's stance on gay scouts and leaders. (Published Friday, Mar 15, 2013)

    The Boy Scouts nearly ran into a roadblock when they asked the board of selectmen in Orange to use fairgrounds for a camp-out in June.  One member asked for a ban because of the Scouts' national policy of excluding gay Scout members and leaders.

    "We're not against the Boy Scouts, we're against what's being said to them from their national leaders," said Mitch Goldblatt, who said he wanted to make a point that he's against the policy.

    "And if we don't stand up, if we don't start at some level and say, 'This is wrong,' the message won't get through," Goldblatt, a former Cub Scout himself, said. 

    He was impassioned enough to make a motion to deny the Boy Scouts access to the town fairgrounds for their June prep event.

    "Our children are taught diversity in the school, yet when they walk out of the school and they go to the Scouts, they're taught anything but diversity with this kind of policy," Goldblatt said.

    James Zeoli, first selectman for the town of Orange, said the Boy Scouts have used the fields before as well as a community center and they've never had problems.

    "While I understand Selectman Goldblatt's position, you're penalizing the children who participate in a program who are not the corporate leaders of the scouting association," Zeoli said. 

    NBC Connecticut reached out to the Connecticut Yankee Council. but no one got back to us.

    "It's really great to be able to provide a location for the kids that is safe," Zeoli said.

    This controversy comes two months before the Boy Scout's national board meeting, where leadership is polling its members on the possibility of reversing its policy to exclude gay scouts. A recent Quinnipiac poll shows 55 percent of Americans say they should drop the ban.

    "But I still felt it was time to stand up on principle and that principle was very important," Goldblatt said.

    The measure passed 5-1 on Wednesday night, allowing the Scouts to continue to use the fairgrounds.

    Goldblatt said he's hoping this won't become an issue again once the vote comes back in May.