Although Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has reaffirmed its policy of banning openly gay members and officials from its organization, the Asociacion de Guias y Scouts de Costa Rica is taking a different stand.
For Peggi Chavez, Executive Director of Guias y Scouts de Costa Rica, people have the right to choose “what is best for them,” which is why the issue of accepting or rejecting gay members is not an issue that is under discussion in the organization.
Chavez stated that each organization has the right to set its own rules and make its own policies based on the laws of the country.
“We belong to two associations (World Organization of the Scout Movement and World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts). They are the ones who make the policies, which, in turn, each country is free to modify as they deem appropriate,” Chavez said.
For that reason, Boy Scouts of America decided to keep its policy to ban gay members, a decision the Asociacion de Guias y Scouts de Costa Rica respects based on world brotherhood.
The current BSA’s policy, which has been in place since 1991, states: “While the BSA does not proactively inquire about the sexual orientation of employees, volunteers, or members, we do not grant membership to individuals who are open or avowed homosexuals or who engage in behavior that would become a distraction to the mission of the BSA.”
The US Supreme Court approved the ban in 2000 saying private groups have the right to decide their own membership criteria. In addition, scouting officials say the policy enjoys widespread support among members.
However, according to Chavez, in order to be a member of Guias y Scouts de Costa Rica the only requirement is that members make a commitment to making this country a better place every single day.
The Director also stated that the association promotes respect among people regardless of their race, creed, religion or sexual orientation.
There are currently about 11 thousand Guides and Scouts in Costa Rica distributed among 181 groups in the areas of San Jose, Alajuela, Heredia, Cartago, Brunca, Huetar, Guanacaste, Puntarenas and Limon.
The Costa Rica News
San Jose Costa Rica