An influential conservative advocacy group in Washington said Tuesday a vote to allow homosexuals to join the Boy Scouts of America would lead to more homosexuality and sow "moral confusion."
During a panel discussion hosted by the Heritage Foundation, experts said a "yes" vote to allow gay boy scouts – but not gay scout leaders – was a "fatal concession" for the 103-year-old organization, and they worried the policy would lead to "increased boy on boy contact" as well as a domino effect toward allowing gay leaders in the future.
Matthew Spalding, a vice president of American studies at Heritage, also voiced concerns that allowing gay scouts would affect boy scouts' "understanding of fatherhood," their "character formation," as well as their development into "upright young men."
The Heritage Foundation – which just came off of a rough week over allegations of racism in a recently-released immigration study – hosted panelists Tuesday from conservative religious groups including the Family Research Council and the Ethics and Public Policy Center.
But perhaps the most strongly worded statements on the panel came from John Stemberger, a former scoutmaster and now founder of OnMyHonor.Net, a group for scouts concerned about allowing gays in the troops.
OnMyHonor.net recently came out with a top ten reasons to oppose the change – among them a concern that it would "inevitably create an increase of boy-on-boy sexual contact ... not to mention the tragedy of countless boys who will experience sexual, physical and psychological abuse."
Stemberger, who also runs the Florida Family Policy Council, echoed that sentiment Tuesday, saying that a top official in the Boy Scouts had warned him the change would "increase boy-on-boy contact," and that it would be hard to regulate "innuendo ... and symbols ... and everything that comes as part of the gay culture."
The Boy Scouts, which told Whispers it was not scheduling interviews at this time, shared a document that said it "takes strong exception to [the] assertion" that children would be at higher risk of being sexually abused if gay scouts were allowed to join.
Other panelists expressed concern that the Boy Scouts had "bamboozled" its members by allowing voting on a change that the majority of its members opposed. But the Boy Scouts document argued the organization had "completed the most comprehensive listening exercise in its history" before moving toward a vote.