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European Scouts take liberal stance on sex, drugs
One-quarter of girls, 12 percent of boys open to gay experiences

by Matt Comer . Q-Notes staff

Lord Robert Baden-Powell founded
the Scouting Movement in Britain more than 100 years ago.
ROME, Italy — While the Boy Scouts of America continue to hold to right-wing ideologies of banning gay youth members and leaders, other Scouts around the world are professing their decidedly more liberal views.

In a 2006 survey conducted at a Scout conference, or jamboree, in Italy, more than one-quarter of European Girl Guides and 12 percent of European Boy Scouts said they would consider same-sex experiences. Nine in 10 also reported they expected to have sex before marriage.

Further, according to reports from PinkNews.co.uk, over 80 percent of the surveyed Scouts said they would not be opposed to getting drunk and more than half said they would take marijuana if offered. Only half of the youth said they believed in God, 31 percent said they had a right to abortions and 91 percent said they downloaded illegal or pirated material such as music from the internet.

The survey was conducted, compiled and released by the Institute of the Innocents, a centuries-old Italian government organization that tracks the welfare of families and children.

“There was an open-mindedness about breaking the rules that is common among young people,” a spokesperson said to PinkNews.

Unlike the Boy Scouts of America, LGBT people are not expelled or restricted from membership or leadership in many European Scouting organizations, including those in Britain, where Scouting was first established by Lord Robert Baden-Powell in 1907. Canadian Scouting organizations also do not restrict membership or leadership to heterosexuals.

In 2000, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Boy Scouts of America, allowing them to retain their own membership and leadership standards. According to the American Psychological Association, some of the legal arguments used by the American Scouting organization included claims based on debunked research by Paul Cameron and shoddy survey work completed by Karla Jay and Allen Young which contained “inadequate methodologies that would not be relied on by scientists.”

info: World Organization of the Scout Movement, www.scout.org

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