DALLAS (CBSDFW.com) – A self-proclaimed “hands-on dad,” University Park resident Jon Langbert said he didn’t think twice when his son’s Cub Scout pack asked him to organize a popcorn fundraiser.
He fondly remembers his son Carter coming home from school, excited about being a Boy Scout.
“In second grade, Carter came home with a flyer for Cub Scouts and was interested in signing up,” Langbert said.
When he first met with organizers, Langbert told them he was gay, and that his son was interested in joining. There were no problems then, he said.
So, he participated in as many activities with Carter and the pack as he could. Langbert said when Cub Scout Pack 70 was low on money, he hit the streets and raised more than $13,000 last year.
“I just found out a few days ago that some of the dads are not happy about having a gay guy running the popcorn fundraiser,” Langbert said.
Once the parents complained, Langbert was told he could no longer hold a leadership position in the Boy Scouts of America. They even took his leadership shirt away.
“The two of us and countless other gay dads and sons are being robbed of the full experience of scouting by an out of touch, discriminatory policy,” Langbert said.
Officials with the Boy Scouts of America said their policy does not permit leaders to be gay or atheist.
“Sexuality of any level does not have a place in the Boy Scouts of America,” said Pat Currie, spokesman with the Boy Scouts of America. “What we are all about is teaching kids lifetime values and trying to develop characters and make them better citizens … We are not about sexual orientation.”
Langbert said he wants the Boy Scouts to change their policy. He said his pack is meeting Monday at the University Park Elementary School, and hopes the school will reevaluate its connection with the Boy Scouts.
“If we can’t change it, then we have to ask ourselves, ‘Does our school where my tax dollars go belong in endorsing this organization, allowing recruiting for this organization and providing free facilities for this organization,’” Langbert asked. “That’s a question for the courts.”
Highland Park Independent School District said it has a long-standing practice of allowing community groups to use its facilities. The policy is designed to not discriminate against any person or organization.
Langbert said he will finish the fundraising this year, but said his fourth grader is no longer interested in being a Cub Scout.
The Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the Boy Scouts of American does not have to allow gay individuals into its organization. Langbert said he is researching legal action.