Defending the family

Public Advocate Files First Federal Complaint Under the Defend the Boy Scouts Act

Background

The Boy Scouts of America are under assault through the country because of their moral courage, and nowhere are the attacks more eminent then in Maryland.

Montgomery County officials have decided to start charging the Boy Scouts hundreds of thousands of dollars a year because of their moral leadership requirement. Public Advocate believes that the county's actions are illegal because of the Boy Scouts of America Equal Access Act, which President Bush signed into law in January as part of the Education Bill. At the request of Public Advocate, the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights is investigating the matter and if the county is found to have violated the law than they will automatically lose all $40 million dollars in federal education funds. These extremists in the county's bureaucracy are putting all Montgomery County children at risk by their actions, not just the Scouts.

To make matters worse, a cover up is underway at the Interagency Coordinating Board, the body that set the new fee structure. Genny Gong, the board executive director told the Frederick News-Post that their actions were "absolutely not" related to the Scouts moral leadership requirement in an article published February 2, 2002, she told the same thing to many other media outlets and concerned citizens after Public Advocate began the inquiry. However, minutes from the meeting where the new fees were approved showed a different story.

"For years, the Boy Scouts have enjoyed free use of classrooms in schools. However, Boy Scouts of America has recently taken a position on the exclusion of gays from leadership positions within the organization..." the minutes read. "Should use by the Boy Scouts be reconsidered?"

The section on the Scouts concludes with the action of the Board. "It was agreed on that all scouting groups would be informed that, based on a review of policies, they will no longer receive free use, unless they are school sponsored, but will be charged the non-profit rate."

Embarrassed about being caught in the cover up, Gong could only respond by telling the Montgomery Gazette that the minutes were not supposed to be available to the public, in an article published on February 20, 2002.

Public Advocate is fighting a long battle to get these excessive fees lifted from the Scouts, but we need your help! Working together we can insure that the Scouts are free to make leaders of boys for generations to come in Maryland and throughout America.

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