WASHINGTON — The Japanese American Citizens League released the following statement on March 22.

The Boy Scouts of America maintains a policy that was established over 20 years ago, which states “…homosexual conduct is inconsistent with the requirements in the Scout Oath that a Scout be morally straight and in the Scout Law that a Scout be clean in work and deed, and that homosexuals do not provide a desirable role model for Scouts…”

The position further states that “…Because of these beliefs, the Boy Scouts of America does not accept homosexuals as members or as leaders, whether in volunteer or professional capacities…”

As a civil rights organization, the Japanese American Citizens League believes America’s truest character is expressed when access to opportunities are provided equitably to all persons. We believe these opportunities should not be limited by race, religion, ancestry, gender, national origin, disability or sexual orientation.

The acceptance of Japanese Americans as full participants to our society was not always the case. There was a time when we were ostracized and excluded from full participation in the mainstream of American society. Thus, we are aware that living on the fringes of acceptance is a denigrating and dehumanizing existence. However, the unique characteristic of our society is that it evolves and provides a place for everyone to participate and to be what they are.

It is important, even for private organizations, to recognize the value in accepting diversity. The JACL urges the Boy Scouts of America to lift its ban on openly gay individuals so they may fully participate as members and leaders.

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