It is the oldest, most sickening piece of bigotry around, used against Jews in one era just as it is now used against homosexuals. There is no more logical connection between homosexuality and pedophilia than heterosexuality and pedophilia, or heterosexuality and rape. Look, there are legitimate public policy disagreements about how we treat homosexuals in society. But linking gays with child-molesters, in this way, and asserting it as a matter of faith, immune to any argumentation, is simply bigotry.
Derbyshire's argument? That the Boyscouts attract "pederasts". I'm sorry, but what is so hard to understand here?
Think about it another way: Suppose you were a member of NAMBLA. Would you be interested in joining the Boy Scouts as a troop leader? Of course you would!
The Girl Scouts don't allow men to run their troops, and for good reason. Think of how interested a hetro child molester would be in gaining access to young girls, and in a position of trust and authority to boot. Just look at how frequently school teachers are arrested for molesting or attempting to molest their charges. And this is in a classroom setting, after jumping through years of hoops.
This issue has nothing to do with homosexuality per se. Homosexual men shouldn't have easy access to pubescent boys, just as hetrosexual men shouldn't have access to girls.
To put it another way, what percentage of Catholic priests are homosexual? What percentage of those molested boys? Is this an incredibly high number of "pederasts" for the number of homosexual priests? I happen to believe that it is, and I would assume that Sullivan would agree with me here. So what could account for this unusual percentage? Self-selection, of course.
This is the same problem that the Scouts have. If they do allow gay men to become troop leaders, an uncharacteristically high percentage of applicants will be child molesters. While forbidding homosexual men from joining will undoubtedly prevent many fine, upstanding men from providing a great service to today's Scouts, it will also save many of these children from being abused. While claims that something is "For the Children!" usually ring flat to me, in this instance it is far better to be safe than sorry.
UPDATE I have re-read what Derbyshire said, and I withdraw my complaint. Where he went over the line was in the aside, "(And before anyone e-mails in to tell me that homosexuality and pederasty are utterly different things, not related to each other in any way, shape or form whatsoever: I DON'T BELIEVE YOU.)"
I still stand by my opinion that gay men should not be accepted to become boy scout leaders.