WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, M.D. (R-TN) today praised the pending passage of the “Support Our Scouts Act of 2005,” which is included in the Department of Defense Authorization bill and the Defense Appropriations bill.
Sen. Frist authored the legislation, which was co-sponsored by over 50 other senators, "to ensure that the Boy Scouts of America receives equal access to public facilities, programs, and forums and that the Defense Department will continue its support of Scouts and their Jamborees."
“The passage of this legislation is a victory for the Boy Scouts of America and the many other organizations that promote the development of our nation’s young people,” said Frist. “This legislation acknowledges the critical role that the Boy Scouts of America plays in the development of our nation’s youth and the importance of that role to the future of our country."
Frist added, “The Boy Scouts of America is a unique American organization that teaches our youth the importance of honesty, integrity and character. This legislation ensures that the Scouts are treated fairly by guaranteeing them equal access to public facilities, programs, and forums. It also enables the Scouts to continue their public service without the distraction of frivolous and spiteful lawsuits. I’m pleased that this integral Scouting tradition will be protected as they continue their noble efforts to mold the hearts and minds of the next generation of America’s leaders."
“For nearly a century the Boy Scouts have helped mold future generations of young Americans by preparing them to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes,” said Roy Williams, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “Too often in recent years the Boy Scouts has faced legal assaults by those who would deny it the same relationship with government as other youth and community organizations. This legislation will help put an end to these senseless attacks and allow the Boy Scouts to continue its vital mission of character development and values-based leadership training. We appreciate Sen. Frist’s authorship of this legislation and encourage swift passage of the Support Our Scouts Act of 2005.”
Exclusion from government forums and facilities is the greatest legal challenge facing the Boy Scouts today, the Frist office said. In recent years, the Boy Scouts organization "has been under a legal assault by those who would deny it the same relationship with government as other youth and community organizations," it was stated.
The “Support Our Scouts Act of 2005” guarantees the Boy Scouts’ right to equal access. The legislation removes any doubt that federal, state, and local agencies may welcome Scouts to hold meetings and go camping on public property by making clear that the Congress considers the Scouts a “youth organization,” Sen. Frist said.
The act also clarifies that federal agencies cannot provide less support to the Scouts than the agency has in the past, except under certain special circumstances, it was stated.