Statement on UUA and BSA Memorandum of Understanding
The Rev. Peter Morales, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), issued this statement following the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the UUA and the Boy Scouts of America:
“I am delighted to share a recently signed Memorandum of Understanding between the Unitarian Universalist Association and the Boy Scouts of America designed to provide guidance to our congregations that wish to charter or host Scouting units.
We have always acknowledged the many shared values between the Boy Scouts and our Unitarian Universalist tradition. I am pleased to see our two organizations form new bonds of mutual understanding which will allow Unitarian Universalist boys and young men who want to participate in Scouting to be able to do so within their own Unitarian Universalist community.
The UUA and the BSA’s relationship eroded in the late 1990s because the UUA opposed the BSA’s ban on openly gay members. Thanks to the tireless efforts of LGBTQ advocates—many who are Unitarian Universalists—we have seen an enormous shift in support for equal rights for LGBTQ people. Organizations such as the BSA are revising their policies to reflect those societal shifts.
After this welcome change on the part of the BSA, and through many deep conversations with Unitarian Universalist leaders, it became clear that a new agreement between the UUA and the BSA would benefit both organizations.
My hope is this document will guide and support our congregations in their own discernment about whether to sponsor a Scouting unit or allow use of their congregation’s facilities for Scouting events. We recognize that Scouting might not be right for everyone and that only a congregation can decide what is right for its members and community. The Memorandum makes clear that neither the UUA nor the BSA supersede the authority and vision of the congregation.
There is still much work to be done to support LGBTQ rights and to ensure that our institutions and organizations reflect the values of fairness and equality. We believe that Scouting within Unitarian Universalist congregations can serve as a welcoming and inclusive model for all Scouting units. It is gratifying to have restored a relationship that was broken, and I look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship between the UUA and the BSA.”