The Boy Scouts of America might be adamantly against including gay members, but convicted criminals are another story.
The Human Rights Campaign recently obtained a Boy Scouts employment application and discovered that a criminal record apparently does not immediately preclude hiring.
"HRC obtained a copy of their job application, which says: 'The Boy Scouts of America will not employ... known or avowed homosexuals,'" writes HRC. "The icing on top? 'Conviction of a crime is not an automatic bar to employment' according to the application. That's right – a person's sexual orientation is more of a red flag than their criminal record."
Now, HRC is asking supporters to send letters to the Boy Scouts board demanding the organization end its policy of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, employment discrimination based on sexual orientation is actually permissible in a number of states across the nation, including many in the Bible Belt -- Texas, Louisiana and Alabama, to name a few. No federal law protects LGBT individuals. The Human Rights Campaign notes on its website that, in 29 states, it is not explicitly illegal to fire someone for being gay ; nor is it illegal, in 34 states, to discriminate against an employee over gender identity.
On Feb. 6, the Boy Scouts announced it will maintain the ban on gay members and leaders while it examines the issue ahead a decision in May. The group was supposed to come to a decision in February but has reasoned the delay is due to "the complexity of this issue."
Gay rights groups are not buying it. GLAAD, for one, thinks the issue is clear-cut: "An organization that serves youth and chooses to intentionally hurt dedicated young people and hardworking parents not only flies in the face of American principles, but the principles of being a Boy Scout," said GLAAD President Herndon Graddick in a statement.