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Rabbis Saperstein: "Today, as we celebrate this major step forward, we must also recommit ourselves to working to end discrimination against LGBT adults wishing to volunteer and work for the Boy Scouts, and indeed in all workplaces across the country."
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WASHINGTON, D.C., May 28, 2013 -- In response to the Boy Scouts of America's historic vote to end its policy of discrimination against gay youth, Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center For Reform Judaism, released the following statement:
The Boy Scouts of America's vote last week to open its ranks to gay scouts is a historic mark of progress for an organization that has long been a symbol of discrimination for too many. We are delighted that the Boy Scouts will now extend the opportunity for character and community building to all of America's youth. This victory, however, is bittersweet. The excitement surrounding last week's vote to allow gay youth to participate in the Boy Scouts was undercut by the decision to maintain the organization's prohibition on gay adults serving as volunteers, scout leaders and staff.
Preceding this vote, I was joined by over 500 of my colleagues, rabbis and cantors from coast to coast, in a letter urging the Boy Scouts to lift its ban on both gay youth and adults. Our continued calls for full equality for the LGBT community in both scouting and society as a whole come from an understanding that each person - regardless of their sexuality - is created b'tselem elohim, in the image of God. This divine presence in each of us does not change when a person turns eighteen. The continued discrimination against gay and lesbian adults in the Boy Scouts does not live up to our values as Jews nor the Boy Scouts of America's goals as an organization. Today, as we celebrate this major step forward, we must also recommit ourselves to working to end discrimination against LGBT adults wishing to volunteer and work for the Boy Scouts, and indeed in all workplaces across the country.