[Congressional Record Volume 146, Number 94 (Wednesday, July 19, 2000)]
[Page H6565]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                          SCOUTING FOR ALL ACT

  The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the 
gentlewoman from California (Ms. Woolsey) is recognized for 5 minutes.
  Ms. WOOLSEY. Mr. Speaker, earlier today I introduced a bill, the 
Scouting for All Act, to repeal the Boy Scouts of America's Federal 
charter. The bill's cosponsors are sending a message to the Boy Scouts 
and to all Americans that the Congress of the United States does not 
support intolerance.
  As my colleagues know, a charter is an honorary title Congress awards 
to organizations that serve a charitable, patriotic, or educational 
purpose. But to me there is nothing charitable or patriotic about 
intolerance, and it is not a value we want our children to learn.
  Revoking the charter sends a clear message that Congress does not 
support this value, this value of intolerance. The supporters of my 
bill are not saying that the Boy Scouts are bad. We are saying that 
intolerance is bad.
  I was a Girl Scout. One of my sons was a Boy Scout. And I know the 
values of scouting, and that is why I believe it should be available to 
all boys.
  The decision handed down by the Supreme Court last month shocked me; 
but, most of all, it saddened me. Yes, the Boy Scouts fought hard to 
win their right to discriminate. But for me and the bill's supporters, 
this is not a question of whether the Boy Scouts have a right to 
establish anti-gay policy. It is a question of whether the Boy Scouts' 
anti-gay policy is right.
  We believe that choosing to do nothing in response to the court's 
decision would only compound the injury and would reaffirm the Boy 
Scouts' message that intolerance is okay.
  As I said, the Boy Scouts fought hard to win their right to 
discriminate. While they may have won this right, we strongly feel the 
Government should not be a participant in any policy that promotes 
discrimination or intolerance.
  I truly believe that when brave people step up and say intolerance is 
wrong, we will and can make a difference.
  One of those brave people is Stephen Cozza, a teenager from my 
hometown of Petaluma, California, who founded Boy Scouts For All, which 
is a national campaign to change the Boy Scouts' anti-gay policy.
  To date, Stephen Cozza and his father, Scot Cozza, have gotten more 
than 51,000 signatures on a nationwide petition supporting the change 
in the Boy Scout policy and making scouting inclusive for all boys.
  As Members of Congress, we also have a part to play. We have an 
opportunity, an opportunity to let the Boy Scouts of America know that 
we do not accept their exclusionary and intolerant policy.
  I dread the implication and the repercussions should Congress choose 
not to act. If both the Court and Congress convey the message that 
discrimination is okay, I fear we encourage other organizations to 
discriminate as well.
  Mr. Speaker, we are halfway through the first year of the new 
millennium, and we are still debating the pros and cons of 
discrimination. Did we not learn anything from the last century? All of 
our children need a tolerant environment in which to grow and learn. 
Straight kids and gay kids need to know that they are accepted. We must 
make it clear to those children that the Federal Government supports 
them and does not support intolerance.
  I urge my colleagues to support our children. Join with me and the 
bill's cosponsors and support repealing the charter of the Boy Scouts 
of America. But let me repeat. We are not saying that the Boy Scouts 
are bad. We are saying, and we are saying in absolute terms, that 
intolerance is bad.