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Originally published April 29, 2013 at 5:11 PM | Page modified April 29, 2013 at 5:11 PM

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Editorial: NBA player Jason Collins’ merit badge

One pro athlete’s candor sends a broader message about the acceptance of sexual orientation as an identity, a fact, not a barrier.

Seattle Times Editorial

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THE May 6 edition of Sports Illustrated should make the Boy Scouts of America board meeting a little easier.

NBA center Jason Collins’ declaration of his sexual orientation, and what will be his fleeting status as the only openly gay male athlete in pro sports, is a powerful testament that times have changed.

Collins is not flaunting his sexuality, he is making a statement that ought to be irrelevant but for now is a necessary step to get beyond, for himself and others.

No one paid much attention, but this month the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players’ Association joined forces with You Can Play, an organization dedicated to confronting homophobia in sports.

NHL owners and players support an inclusive sport that is open and comfortable for all. They made commitments to educate players, fans and the viewing public.

Time for the National Football League to stress inclusion of all players, regardless of sexual orientation.

Collins, a veteran NBA player, became uncomfortable not being forthright about who he is. Others will follow his bold example to discover, more and more, no one cares.

The Boy Scouts need to get the message. The organization mumbled a silly hint it might lift its ban on gay boys but exclude gay adult leaders.

Scouting is about families, and that means straight parents and gay children, and children with gay parents. Feeble attempts to draw lines will destroy efforts to nurture membership, involvement and support.

The Scouts need to get the big picture about society and face the practical consequences of dated, exclusionary policies.

The Sacramento Bee reports a California lawmaker is working to repeal the state tax-exempt status for any youth organization that discriminates based on gender identity, sexual orientation or religious affiliation.

The Boy Scouts should be guided by the imperative of a good deed. Change the rules, invite all families and flourish.


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