Alan Keyes
Will Scout delegates vote by secret ballot?
By Alan Keyes
May 23, 2013

This morning, I received by email the following press release asserting that when BSA delegates meet in Dallas this week, the votes they cast on the proposal to modify the ban on homosexuality in Scouting will be given by secret ballot.

Is this press release accurate? If what it says is true, people who care about Scouting need to do everything possible to spread the word before the vote takes place.

The secret ballot makes sense as a means of protecting individuals acting on their own behalf from intimidation. But it makes no sense for people who are serving as representatives. This is why, for example, in votes of substance in America's legislative bodies, each representative's vote is publicly declared and counted. Even their presence or absence is clearly recorded.

As the name implies, delegates act on behalf of those they represent. True representation demands accountability. But the secret ballot procedure is precisely intended to prevent those who vote from being called to account for their vote. Therefore a secret ballot defeats the purpose of representation whenever people with delegated authority are voting on matters that require a substantive exercise of that authority (i.e., on matters not simply procedural).

This way of proceeding with the BSA's decision on homosexuality adds to the ugly impression that the BSA is being bullied by an elitist clique of powerful financial backers into adopting a policy detrimental to the organization and its members, and firmly opposed by a solid majority of them.

The Scouting way of life is one of honesty and honor, not duplicitous secrecy. If enough people are made aware of this travesty of representation beforehand, their protests may encourage delegates who respect that way of life to demand that an accountable vote be taken. If they succeed, what some, in the shadow of secrecy, might be intimidated into betraying, others may in light of constituent scrutiny be emboldened to defend.

Press Release
For Immediate Release NO SECRETS IN
May 21, 2013

Boy Scout delegates to cast secret vote on controversial policy change; Scouting families demand openness and transparency

"All aspects of the Scouting Program are open to observation by parents and leaders"
– Boy Scout Handbook

On May 23, 2013, 1400 delegates from across the nation will meet in Dallas, Texas, to vote on the most contentious issue to face Boy Scouts in its 103 year history: whether or not to admit openly or avowed homosexuals.

This past spring, scouts, parents and churches completed an extensive survey concerning this issue. From these surveys, the views of the local councils on whether to amend Scouting's membership policy were assembled and a resolution proposing a change in membership policy was drafted.

Scouters are raising concerns that their views on the policy change will not be represented because the votes of the 1400 delegates will be made in Secret.

Whether for or against the proposed change in membership policy, scouts have a right to know how their representatives voted. Scouting's own guidelines require there be no secrets in scouting, stating, "All aspects of the Scouting Program are open to observation by parents and leaders." The members of insist this guideline should apply to the policy vote as well. demands the May 23, 2013, vote be open and transparent. is requesting scouts contact their local council to demand the vote not be in secret.

Contact Information: No Secrets In Scouts (513) 655 7992

To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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