I was a member of the Boy Scouts of America.
I am an Eagle Scout, and I was an Assistant Scout Master of my troop. I still am supportive of young people learning the great educational opportunity that the Boy Scouts has to offer.
I certainly enjoyed it, and I want all boys to have the opportunity to share in the program like I did as a young person because if people would have discriminated, then I certainly would not have learned what I did. It would be a disservice to all boys everywhere if they were to be discriminated against because they were gay, or they were poor, or not what someone thinks they should be.
What we can hope for is the local community is much more enlightened then some of the individuals at national levels.
Those areas, those communities, that realize how important it is to treat everyone within our community as equals will see the justification for making a decision to allow all people to participate in the Boy Scouts.
I look forward to the aspect of reaching a more enlightened time in our world, and I would hope that people would realize that.
I know that being a former Scoutmaster it does not make any difference what the Scoutmaster's orientation is, if he does it from his heart, if he does it with sincerity as I did and he does it knowing that he does not need to disclose nor discuss his specific private life.
We as individuals are entitled to the privacy of our lives and at the same time we are entitled to be treated with respect, with dignity and without hate, for that is a must.
That's why it is so important to have a Hate Crimes Bill so that once again we are demonstrating our legislative process in our community that our leaders are willing to say we will not hate, and we will as individuals support the efforts to make hating a crime because it is wrong to hate.
We want to remind the public how important it is that we respect each other's rights and that this Hate Crimes Bill that will be introduced which also allows those of us to truly prove to our communities that we don't want to hate one another or hate other people that are different.
It also allows organizations such as the Boy Scouts of America to truly understand and know that to exclude someone from the Boy Scouts from serving the Boy Scouts is almost like a form of hate, or a form of disapproval.
Thus, in a sense, if the community really wants to include everyone in the Boy Scouts or in other aspects of the community we must do it from a sense of love, not from hate. That's why this Hate Crimes Bill is so important.
We would hope that the community would get behind supporting the effort of ending hate in our community, and as we see, in our nation.
John A. DeBartola