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Professor David S. Cohen Critiques Boy Scouts of America's Latest Decision on Gay Ban in Christian Science Monitor

February 11, 2013

In a Feb. 6 Christian Science Monitor article, Professor David S. Cohen reacted to the Boy Scouts of America's (BSA) decision Wednesday to push back a vote on whether to admit gay scouts. 

According to the Christian Science Monitor, in addition to their discontent with the delay of the decision, gay rights advocates are also not happy that the BSA is considering allowing local BSA chapters decide, on an individual basis, whether to admit gays.

Cohen said leaving the decision to local chapters is not a viable option.  Such a position would mean that “a lot of boys and men who want to become troop leaders are still going to be discriminated against, and that will be consistent with the new policy," Cohen said. "It’s like the federal government telling states they are no longer requiring segregation but to go on and do it yourselves. It’s a step, but it’s sending the wrong message,” he added. 

In an article published Jan. 29., Cohen told the Christian Science Monitor that the BSA would have to go further than simply lifting its anti-homosexual policy. The BSA must eliminate all policies which exclude female members, he said.  Sexual discrimination is no longer an option today, he added.  Learning to interact with and understand members of the opposite sex are important skills to develop at a young age, Cohen said.  “These are the skills they will need for the rest of their lives, so why remove them from their formative years?” he concluded. 

Cohen, an expert in gender and discrimination law, has extensively discussed the BSA's gay ban in the past.